Pinoy inventor of 'flying car' partners with e-vehicle firm to commercialize invention

Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 27 2018 12:17 AM

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MANILA - The Filipino inventor of a "flying car" has partnered with green energy and e-vehicle firm Star 8 International to develop commercial versions of his invention. 

The planned "electric manned aerial vehicles" or EMAV will be able to seat up to 2 passengers with a combined weight of 200 kilos and fly for up to an hour, said Star 8 CEO and president Jacob Maimon. 

Filipino inventor Kyx Mendiola used parts from drones to build a prototype electric flying vehicle that could carry one person for 10 to 15 minutes at a height of 15 to 20 feet.

Dubbed as the Koncepto Millenya, the ultralight flying vehicle attracted a lot of online attention when a video of its successful flight was posted on YouTube. 

Mendiola admits he is not really an engineer but just an enthusiast tinkering with electronics. 

He said the idea for the flying vehicle came to him 8 years ago because of his interest in remote-controlled planes and helicopters.

"When drone technology started coming to the Philippines, I started building drones as a hobby, and for filming," Mendiola told ANC's Future Perfect Tech Shorts.

As a hip-hop dancer, he also used drones to film his performances.

"Out of curiosity, I wondered if I could build something that's big enough to carry me," Mendiola said. 

He was able to develop the Koncepto Millenya after what he admitted were years of trial and error. 

Mendiola said he would use all of his savings to buy electronic parts to build his dream vehicle. Sometimes, things would not go as planned, but he would not give up.

"It would burn up, I would buy again."

But his perseverance paid off and earlier this month, he posted a video of Koncepto Millenya flying over a which garnered more than 450,000 views on YouTube.

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The video also got the attention of Maimon, who immediately told an assistant to contact Mendiola to set up a meeting. 

Maimon, however, said he wanted to back out of the meeting after learning a few moments later that Mendiola had no background in engineering, and was in fact a hip-hop dancer.

But as the meeting had already been set-up, Maimon went along with it. He said he quickly took a liking to Mendiola.
"What I like about him (is) he did everything by himself," Maimon told ANC. 

The Pinoy-invented "flying car" was a match for what his company was doing.

Star 8 specializes in green energy technology and e-vehicles. 

The company has offices in Australia, Hong Kong, several countries in Southeast Asia, as well as Ghana and Bangladesh. It is currently manufacturing e-jeepneys and e-tricycles in the Philippines. 

Maimon said he was impressed with how accurate the Koncepto Millenya was, considering that it was made by an enthusiast. 

"It's very hard when you have no funds, no support, it's so hard to do it by yourself," said Maimon, who added he was also an inventor himself. 

The EMAV will also be called the Future 8 when it launches, said Maimon.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), meanwhile, said that at present, it doesn't have any regulations about manned aerial vehicles like the one demonstrated by Mendiola and being planned by Maimon. 

But CAAP said they will look at possible regulations that will be made in other countries where similar aircraft are being developed.