At the 2020 World UAV Conference in Shenzhen, a Chinese passenger drone company Autoflight has presented its V400 Albatross cargo and passenger drone. It was designed to simplify long-distance logistics as well as cargo delivery operations.
The V400 Albatross is available in two models: a hybrid and an all-electric one. The drones will have a maximum takeoff weight of 400 kilograms and will be able to carry cargo weighing up to 100 kilograms. The all-electric version of Albatross has a range of up to 186 miles (300 km), while the hybrid version has a longer range of up to 621 miles (1000 km). Both models have a maximum flight altitude of up to 5,000 meters (16,404 feet), a wingspan of 9 meters, a height of 1.1 meters, and a length of 6.7 meters.
The all-electric model uses two main motors, one at the front and one at the rear, with lifting surfaces and eight lifting motors getting the V400 off the ground. The hybrid model uses the main internal combustion engine at the rear for cruising while keeping the same lift surfaces and eight motors for lift.
The whole V400 Albatross body uses carbon fiber composite material integrated molding technology, which is lighter in weight, stronger, and more rigid. It adopts a three-axis layout to ensure the overall high reliability and high strength characteristics.
To pass regulatory and safety tests, the V400 drone features several technologies, such as the flight control system and an optional parachute for added safety. In addition to the flight control system, the aircraft is equipped with new materials, artificial intelligence, autonomous technology, sense and avoid in the air technology, multi-redundant flight control systems, microelectronics, 4G and 5G telecommunication systems for multi-channel communication, ground radar assisted remote takeoff and landing function and many others.
The potential applications of the V400 drones include express logistics, standard cargo delivery, emergency material transportation, medical rescue, fire rescue, disaster relief, industry, and government use. The aircraft is versatile enough to be an effective cargo delivery aircraft in cities and in remote areas.
The company believes that the V400 eVTOL meets all the requirements of the Civil Aviation Administration of China and that it must have a clear path for commercialization in the Asian country. The use of the V400 eVTOL model for passenger transport is one of the company’s objectives. But at first, Autoflight should focus on the development of cargo flight as China recently introduced regulations allowing companies to test cargo flight.