Japanese Firm Unveils Electric Commuter Helicopter

An electric helicopter that can be piloted to work above traffic congestion was unveiled by Japan’s Hirobo Corp Tuesday.

Hirobo’s single-passenger electric helicopter can fly at 100 kilometers per hour (63 mph) for 30 minutes on a single charge. Its coaxial rotors that allow direction changes dispense with the need for tail rotors, cutting precious weight.

Unlike conventional helicopters, the Hirobo copter is extremely quiet, allowing it to be used for applications like searching for disaster victims, the company said.

At the same event Hirobo also unveiled a pilotless drone electric chopper. Both versions can fly autonomously using a GDP navigation system.

In its current super-lightweight configuration the piloted helicopter would not be legal for use in Japan or in the US. However, Hirobo sees it as having the potential to serve ultimately as a commuter vehicle for those who work in congested urban areas.