This Ex-Tesla Engineer Wants to Change Aviation

Impossible Aerospace founder and CEO Spencer Gore hopes to make self-flying electric planes that would make jet fuel — and the pollution from burning it — obsolete.

But he’s starting small by building battery-powered electric drones.

The company’s flagship product, dubbed the US-1, can fly for about two hours on a single charge, about as long as a helicopter can fly on a full tank. Gore describes the small unmanned aerial vehicle half-jokingly as “a battery with propellers attached.”

More than half of the mass of the US-1 is made of battery cells and the entire structure serves as one big battery pack.

Impossible Aerospace shares DNA, and a clean energy mission, with Tesla.

Before he caught the start-up bug, Gore worked as an intern at two Elon Musk-led companies, SpaceX and Tesla. He was offered an internship at the electric vehicle maker in 2014, and and later became a full-time battery engineer there. He accepted the internship even though he was still working on an engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.

Rather than dropping out of college like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg, Gore decided to lead a double life. He convinced his professors he would be able to mail in his assignments, and travel back and forth between Tesla’s headquarters in Palo Alto, California and their campus for exams.

To save money and eliminate commute time, Gore even lived in an RV in the parking lot at Tesla for six months while finishing up his degree. He has no regrets.

“Honestly that was that was one of the happiest times of my life,” he recalls. “If you think about the two things that stress people out in Silicon Valley the most it’s commuting and paying rent. If you if you don’t have to do those two things, life is pretty good.”

Gore says he learned some important lessons about shipping new products and keeping teams focused through major challenges during his tenure at Tesla. In the years that he worked there, Tesla was perfecting the design and manufacturing processes for battery modules that power its Model S, Model X and Model 3 electric cars.

Both Tesla and Impossible Aerospace created their vehicles thinking about battery needs first. Other companies tend to start by designing their vehicles first, and battery later. That can lead to cars or aircraft that aren’t as efficient and don’t perform as well, Gore said.

Drones have become a valuable tool during emergencies, because they can be launched within minutes to give first responders situational awareness, fight fires from above or help search and rescue operations. They’re even beginning to replace helicopters in some cases.

Impossible Aerospace research found that there are around 18,000 municipal police departments across the US, and around 32,000 fire departments, but only sixty municipalities have access to a helicopter. That’s partly because a police-grade helicopter can cost millions of dollars. “A drone can provide about half of the utility of a helicopter at less than 1 percent of the price,” Gore says. “It can even be more useful than a helicopter, because a drone can fly lower and get in closer to evaluate dangerous situations.”

The start-up is flying its US-1 drones on behalf of first responders in Santa Clara County, near its headquarters, to demonstrate the drones’ potential and teach officers how to fly them.

Because Impossible offers free help to police and fire departments near its office, Gore and employees at his company sometimes answer calls to bring a drone out to a fire or crime scene in the middle of the night.

Impossible Aerospace has raised more than $11 million from venture investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Airbus Ventures and Eclipse Ventures, where ex-Tesla executive Greg Reichow is a Partner. While Reichow sits on the board at Impossible Aerospace today, the two hadn’t worked together directly at Tesla.

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This Ex-Tesla Engineer Wants to Change Aviation

50 Comments

  1. antonios papachristou on February 23, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Dude, I don’t usually comment, but let’s just say I had to like and comment this video!

  2. Aaron Kandibovich on February 23, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Hahae so good

  3. megan badger on February 23, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    0:53 What’s wrong with it?

  4. Smc on February 23, 2021 at 11:19 pm

    The guys a former tesla battery engineer and has worked for NASA and SpaceX and yet everyone in the comments thinks he’s come up with nothing new despite having the most superior flight time on the market and a 1.5million contract with the USAF.
    Loooool take a day off 😂

  5. King PK on February 23, 2021 at 11:21 pm

    What is their company name

  6. The Lost Mind 22 on February 23, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    He should have focused on an electric motor home. Kinda missed the mark on that one, especially since he lived in one while working at Tesla.

  7. Mini mike on February 23, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    Flight charging delays are going to be insane

  8. Katana on February 23, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    J

  9. 3 D on February 23, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Is this the guy who got fired for over-building the battery pack so you drive around with useless dead weight?

  10. Noob Tube on February 23, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    Still can’t take your phone on a plane even though there are 200 tonnes of Lipo batteries in every available space in the Jumbo.

  11. YaBoi on February 23, 2021 at 11:25 pm

    (Hits blunt)

    "Yo… What if we had like… Batteries as the airframe?"

  12. futbolita89742 on February 23, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    usually when i rethink something it costs 0 usd

  13. P S on February 23, 2021 at 11:27 pm

    It would be great to have battery powered aircraft that was self-charging.

  14. Sajath Salim on February 23, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    See if you have noble (inertg gas)atmosphere around battery package in aeroplane .. The battery is not gonna explode..

    Moreover aeroplanes are the future.. More people ride planes everyday.. So greening things in aviation industry is also going to save our planet

  15. ye yuan on February 23, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    You have 5 kg of payload capacity,would you like it in battery or mission payload? That is a tough question. Don’t mislead.

  16. Hello World on February 23, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    ALPP is the stock ticker. Company was just acquired by Alpine 4 Tech

  17. Zodera on February 23, 2021 at 11:32 pm

    I already beat him to it some years ago, except I dont have millions dollars or companies partnering up. And his drone design look basic and boring. I also put a laser on a drone, and made bladeless drones. If you want to follow you can look up Zoderamatic on instagram.

  18. RDBRTLME FGRA on February 23, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    All electric
    Drone Phantom: Am I a joke to you?

  19. betty chaires on February 23, 2021 at 11:34 pm

    Well yeah, that’s what we expected

  20. Staf VH on February 23, 2021 at 11:36 pm

    Absolutely non impressive footage. A flying set of batteries in a unimpressive housing. Wow, much thought must have gone in this…😉 This thing must be heavy as well/ hell. Back to the drawing board !

  21. Annice Tucker on February 23, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    WOWOWOW

  22. David Shevchuk on February 23, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    I always knew there had to be hundreds of Elon musk working for Elon musk. Here is one.

  23. EasilyFallsForClickbait on February 23, 2021 at 11:42 pm

    Here’s a more realistic idea that many are already working on. Use solar to power algae or plants to convert co2 into clear burning hydrocarbons and use those to run the jets. It’s almost as good as "zero emission" renewable electric but without the unrealistic power density restriction. Who says rockets can’t use renewable solar energy?

  24. Ali Cetin on February 23, 2021 at 11:44 pm

    Let me give a spoiler “this guy made drone with batteries and it can fly 2hour constantly so he can borrow money from investors “

  25. Salman Haider on February 23, 2021 at 11:46 pm

    This dude has presence of mind!!!

  26. Zach Cameron on February 23, 2021 at 11:47 pm

    The dji sucks because the batteries are proprietary, and don’t let you put different batteries. If you had two batteries you could wire them parallel and get double the run time.

  27. 3 D on February 23, 2021 at 11:50 pm

    thermodynamics, you can’t break laws of physics

  28. John Wood on February 23, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Aerospace means you make vehicles that go into space out of the earth’s atmosphere. People stop with the aerospace thing. SpaceX is aerospace, nasa is aerospace. Please stop guys.

  29. Shamir George on February 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    That’s nice. If there continue to be people like this who aren’t afraid to think outside the box, one day, hopefully in my life time, I’ll get more free stuff and be able to do stuff more easily and cheaply. I love discounts.

  30. Evuro Dog MSG-LLC on February 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    I will like to help build the future at impossible

  31. jordan d on February 23, 2021 at 11:53 pm

    If you want to invest in this company alpine 4 technologies aquired them it’s ticker is ALPP

  32. jr eirini on February 23, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    is this what they call a flying battery?

  33. Duke Bozikowski on February 23, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    This is great but there’s just one problem. By the time it hits the market the entire world will be using Musk’s Rockets to get around the world in 45 minutes.

  34. Henry Blue Throttle on February 24, 2021 at 12:00 am

    The way that guy talk is very similar to elon musk

  35. AGL Photography NZ on February 24, 2021 at 12:01 am

    Better not forget about the landing gear it needs to retract so it can’t be seen.

  36. 3 D on February 24, 2021 at 12:02 am

    That’s dumb. On a drone you want to keep weight in the middle and reduce surfaces that act like sails

  37. Abrham's Fun Time on February 24, 2021 at 12:02 am

    Unknow to many and before japan succesfull test flight, there was someone in the Philippines already successfully piloted his own design and that was 3 years ago now… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPisKBkWC0U

  38. GLR on February 24, 2021 at 12:02 am

    Nice

  39. Newer Account on February 24, 2021 at 12:05 am

    2:33 did he say a hundred hour 20 minutes?

  40. Judy Norris on February 24, 2021 at 12:07 am

    0:53 Love this moment

  41. Martin Feuchtwanger on February 24, 2021 at 12:08 am

    The huge weight of batteries is not an issue in land vehicles or in boats, but as soon as you have to lift things into the air you can forget about carrying passengers or cargo. Fighter planes or spy planes maybe the only application.

  42. Uziel Hernandez on February 24, 2021 at 12:09 am

    It’s a simple idea but just now people are figuring it out

  43. Black turbine on February 24, 2021 at 12:09 am

    You can improve efficiency further by removing rotor intersections

  44. A Russian Beast on February 24, 2021 at 12:09 am

    So he built a drone made of batteries? Still no idea what’s going on

  45. GaslitWorld f. Melissa B on February 24, 2021 at 12:09 am

    QUESTION FOR SCIENTISTS: Is electric really less pollution? Just wondering how much pollution goes into making batteries (waste) in production. How does it compare to the waste produced by jet fuel planes. Is the waste produced by batteries less toxic than the gasoline emissions and also in production? Thanks in advance for anyone who answers.

  46. ANKUR PATEL on February 24, 2021 at 12:10 am

    WOWOWOW

  47. cemonex1 on February 24, 2021 at 12:11 am

    What a chezy presentation. I felt like I’m watching a pyramid scheme. If you want real investors, show people what are you trying to change in aviation industry with your system and what is the reality limit of application. Also, you need to convince companies by giving reasonable cost cutting advantages from your project. (Which I don’t believe changing a A380 electric is not near cheaper as existing engine system)

  48. Leo M.A. on February 24, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Snowden, is that you?

  49. AmjD S on February 24, 2021 at 12:14 am

    just speculations and copied ideas from tesla

  50. Argle Bargle on February 24, 2021 at 12:15 am

    alpp to the moooooooooooooon

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