Zero is a technology demonstrator that’s half helicopter and half airplane, and half reminiscent of many of those quadrocopter electric drones you’ve seen in the news. The vehicle was put together by helicopter maker Westland in the U.K., with engineering help from non-aerospace sources, including Ansaldo Breda, which used its knowledge of high-speed electric trains to produce parts of Zero’s all-electric drive system.
Zero is said to be very stable in the air and has clever anti-vibration systems. It is designed to take off and land vertically, then convert to a more airplane-like mode to fly along at high speed–much like the expensive V22 Osprey. It can also be parked on the ground with its blades pointed into the wind, where they’ll rotate like a windmill and, thus, generate power for its batteries.