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PHRACTYL macrobat
Image: PHRACTYL

Is this flying Batmobile the future of urban transport?

The Macrobat wants to revolutionise personal air travel – with a sustainable twist

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
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When you think of flying cars, you probably picture a normal-looking car... but in the air. Not all that surprising, really. But what if the flying cars of the future looked more like the very animals that inspired them?

Designed by South African start-up PHRACTYL, the Macrobat is a so-called ‘personal flying vehicle’, a bit like a small helicopter. Named after a bat but modelled on a bird, its inventors hope it could be the future of air travel.

Not only does its look exceptionally futuristic, but it’s also sustainable: PHRACTYL says the vehicle will be 100 percent. Even with current battery power levels, it will have a range of 150 kilometres, a weight capacity of 150kg and a maximum speed of 112mph. 

The Macrobat’s claw-like feet should work well on pretty much any terrain, while it can also achieve a ‘near-vertical’ lift-off and landing – in other words, it doesn’t need helipads or runways.

PHRACTYL macrobat
Image: PHRACTYL

PHRACTYL sees the Macrobat being used for recreational purposes, but also for medical, agricultural and delivery services. And while it’s a single-seater vehicle that can be piloted by its inhabitant, in theory it could also be remote-controlled like a drone. As in, you could be sitting in it while someone else flies you around from the ground.

Some of you may be thinking that the Macrobat, being so tiny and bird-like, looks somewhat dangerous. Apparently, though, it isn’t. Thanks to the smallness of the vehicle body and the shape of its wings, PHRACTYL says it can lift off at remarkably low speeds (and so is very easy to control).

For now, the Macrobat is very much still in the theoretical and engineering phase, with a full model yet to be built. But if you’re sold on the designs – or simply very excited by the prospect of having your own Batmobile – you can support PHRACTYL via the start-up’s Patreon.

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