Using the inspiration of the Back to the Future movies, this project will create a functional HoverCar™ out of a DeLorean Time Machine
Using the inspiration of the Back to the Future movies, this project will create a functional HoverCar™ out of a DeLorean Time Machine
This project will transform a DeLorean sports car into the HoverCar™, a flying car with Vertical Take Off & Landing capabilities (VTOL) — meaning it can take off and land anywhere, without the need for a runway. The DeLorean Time Machine was chosen as the foundation for this project because it is one of the most internationally recognized vehicles in history, and most are already familiar with it’s “Future” hover capabilities. As an added bonus, the car is very lightweight (only 2800lbs) which makes it one of the best production cars to use for such a monumental project.
I’ve had a passion for building custom vehicles for over 12 years, and have directly worked on the transformation of over two dozen. In addition, I am a Mechanical Engineering and Professional Flight Technology graduate of Purdue University. Lastly, I have been perfecting my plans for the HoverCar™ for over 10 years; because of this, I am confident that I can succeed in this endeavor. By pursuing this project I am utilizing my Engineering education and work experience - as well as my flight training and love of all things automotive - to create a flying car that is not only functional on both the ground and in the air, but exceeds expectations of what such a vehicle can do in both disciplines. With it’s Ducted-Fan Wheels™, Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™, and Adaptive Control Arm™ Air Suspension coupled to a 1,000 horsepower All Wheel Drive powertrain, the HoverCar™ will not only out-perform most Supercars on the road today, but it will also allow it’s occupants to fly off into the sunset.
Inspired by Back to the Future, the HoverCar™ uses it’s wheels for lift, enabling it to hover. It features the famous “fold down” design of the suspension that moves the wheels from vertical to horizontal.
But that’s where the movie magic ends and the real-life engineering begins.
The HoverCar™ utilizes an All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system that compliments the folding suspension design. Once the wheels are folded down, the HoverCar’s™ AWD system spins just like it would if the HoverCar™ were driving along a road. But instead of riding on pavement, the HoverCar™ channels surrounding air to the Ducted-Fan Wheels™, which blast the air down to provide lift and give the HoverCar™ the ability to hover and fly.
The HoverCar’s™ Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™ serve a dual-purpose as both a traditional brake system and a hydraulically-controlled means of augmenting the thrust the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ provide. This combines with the ability to manipulate the wheels’ positions and provides total control over the hovering, all while maintaining the HoverCar’s™ complete drivability as a sports car.
This video demonstrates the process during which the HoverCar™ transitions from a driving car to a HoverCar™
The plan for this project is to build a functional HoverCar™ prototype, inspired by the Back to the Future movies. Due to the many years spent perfecting my designs, I’m confident that I can succeed in this endeavor.
This project will transform a DeLorean sports car into a HoverCar™, with Vertical Take Off & Landing capabilities (VTOL) — meaning the car can take off from anywhere, without the need for a runway.
Step 1: Purchase a DeLorean Time Machine-converted replica vehicle.
Step 2: Completely remove the production DeLorean rolling chassis, consisting of the frame, suspension, wheels/tires, brakes, engine, transmission, and other related components, leaving behind only the Time Machine body shell.
Step 3: Build & install the HoverCar™ rolling chassis, incorporating the All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) powertrain, V8 engine, 6-speed transmission, Adaptive Control Arm™ Air Suspension, Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™, and Ducted-Fan Wheels™, transforming the car into the HoverCar™.
- The HoverCar™ uses 22” front & 24” rear Ducted-Fan Wheels™ wrapped in low profile tires. The Ducted-Fan Wheels™ are designed with the 18 spokes of the wheel as fan blades wrapped around hollow Spoke Tubes. These spokes compose fans that can be unlocked from the hoop, or rim, of the wheel. When compressed air is pumped into the Wheel Hub it travels through the Spoke Tubes and unlocks the Pin-Lock System™.
- Once compressed air unlocks the Pin-Lock System™ it creates an Air Bearing between the fan & the Wheel Hoops and then exhausts through passageways in the wheel hoops. This Air Bearing allows the fans to spin without spinning the Wheel Hoops & tires, effectively creating Ducted Fans out of the wheels.The exhuasted air from the Air Bearing is directed downstream and helps create additional thrust.
- The fans spin to 7,000 rpm, allowing the 24” Ducted-Fan Wheels™ to produce approximately 800 lbs of thrust, while the 22” Ducted-Fan Wheels™ produce approximately 700 lbs of thrust. This combined thrust of 3,000 lbs is enough to lift the normally 2,800 lb DeLorean. However, replacing the stock DeLorean rolling chassis with the HoverCar™ rolling chassis will significantly reduce the overall weight of the HoverCar™ and facilitate a larger Factor of Safety.
This video demonstrates how the Wheel Pin-Lock System™ is able to unlock the Ducted-Fan Wheel™, enabling flight
This video demonstrates how the Air Bearing functions, once the Ducted-Fan Wheel™ has been unlocked
- The HoverCar’s™ Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™ are designed not only to stop the HoverCar™ when driving, but also as a means of changing the blade angles of the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ during flight, allowing variable thrust output.
- This is accomplished by using dual 6-piston brake calipers and a floating brake disc for each Ducted-Fan Wheel™. Each of the two brake calipers feature 6 individual brake pads paired with 6 ball-socket pistons. These 12 total pistons & brake pads not only clamp the floating brake disc to stop the Ducted Fan Wheels™ while driving, but they are also able to shift the floating brake disc during flight.
- The floating brake disc interlocks with the Misalignment Spline™ which allows it to shift closer and farther from the Ducted-Fan Wheel™ as well as misalign, or skew, in many angular fashions, all while being spun the same speed as the fans. The position & angle of the floating brake disc in relation to the Ducted-Fan Wheel™ is determined by individually controlling the positions of each of the pistons within the brake calipers.
- The floating brake disc’s movement on the Misalignment Spline™ during flight augments individual linkages attached to each fan blade. These linkages cause the fan blades to pivot around the Spoke Tubes, allowing the blade angles to change based on the floating brake disc’s position. This gives the HoverCar™ the ability to generate varying amounts of thrust in different areas of the Ducted-Fan Wheels™, creating a form of Thrust Vectoring that aids in controlling the HoverCar™ during flight.
This video of the Ducted-Fan Wheel™ at rest demonstrates with a single fan blade how the brake disc is able to shift and change the blade angle by acting through the individual linkages
This video of the unlocked Ducted-Fan Wheel™ shows the fan in motion and demonstrates how the brake disc is able to shift and change all the blade angles by acting through the individual linkages
- The HoverCar’s™ suspension consists of Uni-ball spindles connected to the chassis through upper & lower control arms. The Ducted-Fan Wheels™ & Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™ mount to the spindles, and the upper Adaptive Control Arms™ are able to change their length in real-time.
- When driving, the position of the Adaptive Control Arms™ within their suspension cycle is constantly monitored. This allows the HoverCar™ to determine not only it’s ride height but also it’s angle of body roll, which is derived by comparing the ride height of the left side to that of the right side. This data is further combined with the car’s lateral G-Force value to allow the HoverCar™ to constantly optimize the camber & caster of each Ducted-Fan Wheel™. This ensures complete contact between the low profile tires & road at all times, effectively maximizing the HoverCar’s™ traction. When transitioning for flight, the Adaptive Control Arms™ fully extend, folding the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ down to a horizontal position.
- An air spring system is used on the HoverCar™ to both allow the ride height to be adjusted and to ensure a smooth ride. When transitioning for flight, the air is drawn out of the air springs to allow them to lift — or compress the suspension — and fold the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ down.
This video demonstrates how the Adaptive Control Arm™ Air Suspension is able to fold the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ down for flight
- 1,000 horsepower supercharged 5.3 liter V8 engine with Variable Valve Actuation
- 6-speed transmission
- Torsen style limited-slip differentials in both of the axles & the transfer case
- High Angle Drive Shafts feature Cornay universal joints to facilitate folding the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ down by 90°
Growing up in the late 80s and early 90s, the Back to the Future movie franchise had a big impact on my life. It gave me a longing for adventure and exploration of the unknown, as well as a desire to create things that others might deem impossible.
So, it would only seem natural that what began as just rough sketches many years ago has now grown into the foundation for this project. However, I now have the Mechanical Engineering and Aviation training to make my vision a reality.
As a Mechanical Engineering and Professional Flight Technology graduate of Purdue University, I use my education - as well as my love of flight and all things automotive - to constantly come up with new, creative designs that solve real-world problems most people consider unsolvable.
In the design realm, I have created several camshaft systems for internal combustion engines. These designs address a number of problems with the market’s current offering of Variable Valve Actuation (VVA) and Variable Valve Timing (VVT) systems.
I also have had a passion for building custom vehicles for over 12 years, and I have directly worked on the transformation of over two dozen vehicles, utilizing my experience with custom adjustable suspension, functional body modifications, and performance wheels, brakes, engines, and drive systems.
Lastly, I am a licensed Commercial Pilot, with Instrument & Multi-Engine ratings and Complex & High Performance Endorsements, which gives me the aeronautical knowledge needed for this project.
Looking forward, as the father of two beautiful daughters I want them to see & learn that hard work, persistence, and creative thinking can help make dreams become a reality!
- Determine & hire sub-contractors to produce the proprietary parts for the HoverCar™
- Obtain sponsorship for off-the-shelf parts that are needed
- Construct & test scale test models
- Purchase DeLorean Time Machine replica vehicle
- Promote project & fundraise through 2015HoverCar.com and other media channels
- Develop & manufacture proprietary parts through sub-contractors
- Test parts individually for functionality & performance
- Remove all unnecessary stock components from DeLorean
- Assemble all new parts onto the HoverCar™
- Develop & test flight control systems
- Fine tune all systems & parts
- Perform test flights
- Finalize plans for HoverCar™ debut event
Goal: $1.21 million
$1,000,000: Production of the HoverCar™
- 25% - Development of Ducted-Fan Wheels™
- 15% - Development of Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™, Misalignment Spline™, Wheel Hubs & bearings, & Uni-ball Spindles
- 15% - Development of Adaptive Control Arms™
- 15% - Development of engine & drivetrain components
- 15% - Off-the-shelf parts, scale prototypes, & miscellaneous parts & pieces
- 15% - Real Estate Lease for Development Site & Salary for In-House Development Team
$210,000: Fees & Rewards
- Kickstarter & Amazon fees
- Reward production & distribution
Risks and challenges
• The first challenge is the development of an automotive wheel that serves a dual-purpose as both a rolling wheel/tire and as a Ducted-Fan. Communications with the leading Ducted-Fan experts have confirmed that the designs are feasible and capable of producing more thrust than the stock curb weight of a DeLorean. While the Ducted-Fan Wheels™ are being developed, scale Radio Controlled models of the car will be built & tested, as an inexpensive way to further validate the design. From there, the development of the Variable-Blade-Angle Brakes™, the Adaptive Control Arm™ Air Suspension, and the steering system will begin.
• Another challenge will be using a production DeLorean car. The weight of the car as-is will be too great initially for creating a safely airworthy vehicle. Therefore, many parts of the car will be reconstructed out of lighter materials, designed specifically for flight. Since safety is a high priority, the HoverCar™ needs to function on only 3 Ducted-Fan Wheels™ in case a problem ever arises with one of them. This further facilitates the need for purpose built, lightweight parts throughout the car. The Ducted-Fan Wheels™ will provide adequate thrust to lift up to approximately 3000lbs and DeLoreans typically weigh around 2800lbs. However, replacing the stock DeLorean rolling chassis with the HoverCar™ rolling chassis will significantly reduce the overall weight of the HoverCar™ and facilitate a larger Factor of Safety.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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