In places with undeveloped, damaged, or limited infrastructure, time-critical cargo transportation can be extremely difficult, risky, expensive, and slow. Sometimes, humanity needs a simple device to deliver goods, water, tents, medicines, building materials, or other supplies.
Florida-based Aergility Corporation has been working on an autonomous hybrid Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, called ATLIS, intended for long-range cargo delivery into difficult to access or dangerous areas. This year, it will show the prototype drone at AUVSI’s XPONENTIAL 2022 conference.
The result of years of development and testing, the ATLIS hybrid cargo VTOL UAV uses the company’s patented Managed Autorotation technology to carry 400-500 pounds (up to 227 kg) of cargo straight to the point-of-need 300 to 600 miles (483-965 km) away. The ATLIS uses six fixed-pitch, nine-foot diameter electric rotors for takeoff and landing. Forward propulsion is handled by an efficient 90 kW multifuel turboprop engine, which also recharges the batteries for the rotors in flight.
In forward flight, the lift is provided by a small cord wing and airflow through the rotors like an autogyro. Managed autorotation enables ATLIS to maintain lift and flight control by varying rotor RPMs while still drawing net-zero battery power. The drone has cruising speed is 100 mph (160 km/h).
It carries cargo inside its 40 cubic foot (1,132 liters) bay, which can be opened from behind the aircraft to ease the loading and unloading.
ATLIS is designed to provide time-critical delivery of cargo straight to the point-of-need in places with undeveloped, limited, or damaged infrastructure.