Singapore-based Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) has launched a new hydrogen fuel cell-powered, multi-rotor unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
The Hycopter is reportedly the first UAV to be powered using energy, in the form of hydrogen fuel cells, stored in it’s frame structure.
The ultra-light fuel cells are designed to convert hydrogen in the aircraft frame into electricity, to power its rotors.
The technology is said to transform the current 20-30 minute multi-rotor missions, to flights lasting several hours, which will facilitate cheaper / faster aerial surveys and make drone delivery more feasible.
Horizon is preparing the Hycopter for a flight endurance of four hours or approximately eight to ten times the average flight duration of the existing systems.
Horizon Unmanned Systems CEO Taras Wankewycz said: “By removing the design silos that typically separate the energy storage component from UAV frame development, we opened up a whole new category in the drone market, in-between battery and combustion engine systems.
“Hycopter is the first result of our efforts and we intend to demonstrate many more platform innovations in the coming months.”
The special fuel cell on the Hycopter was developed by HUS’s sister company Horizon Energy Systems (HES).
In April, HES unveiled a new 700 Wh/kg solid hydrogen storage system for drones.
Formed this year, HUS aims to leverage expertise in energy storage optimisation, composites, and new autonomous navigation technologies, to lead the innovation in mini-electric UAV.
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