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The University of Southampton

Research student’s ‘flying car’ idea takes off

Published: 11 July 2013Origin: Engineering

Engineering PhD student Witold Mielniczek has attracted £122,000 in start-up money to develop his ‘flying car’ through the online crowd source funder

More than 400 backers were impressed by his ideas for the hybrid car-helicopter, called B and pledged money to help him achieve his dream. Witold was also awarded a £5,000 prize at the University's Take Off competition for entrepreneurs; the project impressed judges for its innovation, market opportunity and financial viability. He will use the money to develop B further with new motors and batteries for the next prototype.

The flying car has been featured on the Channel 5 programme The Gadget Show and the 4 Tech Show on the BBC Arabic channel.

Witold has already applied for patents to protect his ideas for the flying car, called B, and is now seeking collaborators to start manufacturing. He has demonstrated that his first remote-controlled prototype can both tackle difficult terrain and take to the air using propellers built into its four large wheels.

"At the moment, B is an amazing toy which is virtually unstoppable, capable of transitioning between ground and air and performing tricks otherwise impossible to achieve," he explains. "But it has far greater potential. A full scale version could carry people and even have rescue and humanitarian applications."

Witold is studying for a PhD in Computational Engineering and Design, researching novel propulsion system for small aircraft. He was the design engineer for the UK's HALO entry in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) UAVforge contest in the USA for unmanned aerial vehicles. It was the most successful of the 140 international entries.

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