Dubai: He had no educational background in machines or drones, but that didn’t stop 37-year-old Filipino, Kyxz Mendolia, from creating the world’s smallest flying sports car.
According to an earlier Gulf News report, Mendiola recently completed the first successful test flight of his ultralight aircraft called “Koncepto Millenya”, which was flown about 25 feet above the ground.
Mendiola is a founding member of the popular international dance group Philippine AllStars. He transitioned from being a performer to an inventor when he began working on a prototype of his ambitious vehicle six years ago.
He told Gulf News: “I have been building drones as a hobby since 2010. It was all self-study. I learned it all through the internet.”
Mendiola is from Mandaluyong city in the Philippines.
He had no monetary support to help him in his experiments. He said: “What started as curiosity became an obsession, I worked as a freelance filmmaker, taught dance and saved money for six years to be able to work on the drones.”
In 2010, Mendiola started to absorb everything about drones, spending hours on end to better understand the technology. Resources on the internet were fewer then and drones were not so common at that time.
“I used to spend almost 12 hours in a day working on my ideas and understanding the technology. I probably had 10 prototypes before finally cracking the code sometime in 2016," he recalls.
"My designs had to be compact so that they could fit through the door, elevator and my small truck to take them out for testing.”
When Mendiola made his hoverboard prototype in 2016, it could carry only 50kg. The only way to test was to lose weight.
He said: “I was 62kg, but the setup was all I could afford that time. I had to lose weight to prove my concept and get noticed by investors. I flew in 2016 but did not get a single investor.”
In 2017, he made a skeleton flying car that still did not attract investors.
Finally, in 2018, it was Mendiola’s “sports type looking frame, with upgraded setup to fly higher” that finally got noticed.
He said: “About a month ago, I finally found an investor. A company called Star8 from Australia, based in the Philippines, came forward to support my design. They concentrate on all green, all electric vehicles. This was perfect for me.”
Basic technology in the latest prototype
Mendiola said: “It runs on 16 motors. But it can still fly and land safely if two motors stop functioning. It flies at 65kmph currently but the actual product will be designed for 100kmph for a single seater and for the two-seater, maybe 150kmph. A fully charged battery will last for 30 minutes.”
Can the body withstand bad weather?
Mendiola added: “Yes, it can fly in the rain but not during storm. It can handle dusty weather and hard winds but it will affect flight time.”
How high does it fly?
The aerial cinematographer added: “It will fly as high as helicopters, up to 400ft.”
The current prototype can carry 65kg maximum. Mendiola added: “The version I’m working on now is capable of carrying 100kg.”
Is it safe?
Mendiola added that every aspect of safety has been taken into consideration while creating the car.
He said: “It’s very safe. Unlike normal helicopters, this technology is safer because of its redundancy capabilities.”
Redundancy is the duplication of critical components or functions of a system to increase the reliability of the system, usually in the form of a backup or fail-safe methods.
Mendiola’s flying car is expected to launch commercially next year.
He is happy that his product has finally been noticed: “I am just happy, I’m doing what I love and now I’m paid to do it.”
According to him, the only challenge it faces right now is: “...prolonging the flight time.”
He said: “Dubai has plans to go fully autonomous. The Evolo, Ehang, Scorpion Hovebrike that were showcased in Dubai were all a part of my research and study over the years. I definitely hope my product will be sold in Dubai.”
To young inventors, Kyxz Mendiola has one thing to say: “Never give up. If you believe in your vision, it should be enough to fuel you all the way to success.”