One of the biggest challenges in aviation is the design of transitioning vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft. Although great progress has been made in this field, VTOL aircraft is still facing the utmost difficulty of endurance and range limitation. One of the best ways to extend its range is to add wings for horizontal flight.
Drone Volt, an embedded artificial intelligence expert and manufacturer of professional civil drones, brings this kind of thinking to the industrial drone market. It has announced the release of its latest drone hybrid VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) vehicle named Heliplane v.2 drone. The new version offers long flight endurance times, 1.6-kg (3.5-lb) payload capacity, and VTOL/hover capabilities.
The Heliplane v.2 combines the advantages of a multirotor UAV with a fixed drone. It allows you to take off and land safely be in limited spaces.
Over the past few years, we’ve been seeing many early-stage flying car designs, where designers tried to combine the convenience and hovering ability of multicopter-style VTOL with the extended range of a winged aircraft, whether you implement it through tilting rotors or simply by sticking wings. Adding wings does add a degree of complexity; you would be interested to know how this Heliplane navigates the transition. Well, the transition between the two flight modes (VTOL to winged) is fully automatic, according to the company.
This VTOL aircraft comes in two sizes – Large with a 230-cm (7.5-ft) wingspan, and Extra Large, with a 270-cm (8.8-ft) wingspan. This long-range drone can reach a speed of 20 m/s (72 km/h).
It can fly up to 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) range for 60 minutes in airplane mode, all while battling winds of 50 km/h (31 mph). Also, the hybrid drone can quickly turn the aircraft into a multi-rotor vehicle, thus affording it modularity not found in commercial drones available in the market today.
Besides, the Heliplane comes with the carbon fiber and Kevlar frame and can carry up to 1.6 kg payload. It will transmit data some 500 m (0.3 mi).
It is a hybrid drone available in 3 versions and can be used for different types of missions, as per the website suggests. The Security version comes with a 20x zoom camera and a thermal sensor. Next is the Lidar version, which is ideal for high-resolution mapping and 3D modeling. And the third, Photogrammetry version, gives you an RGB camera and real-time kinematic (RTK) for precision measurements.
The pricing of the plane/drone is not available at this stage.