Chinese passenger drone company Autoflight recently unveiled its V400 Albatross cargo and passenger drone at the 2020 World UAV Conference in Shenzhen, China. The company also announced its product development road map.
The V400 Albatross comes in two models, with the first being full electric and the other being hybrid. Although the two models run on different fuel sources, they both have a maximum takeoff weight of 400kg (882 pounds) and a 100kg (220 pounds) payload capacity. The V400 has been designed specifically for long-distance logistics and cargo operations.
The big difference when it comes to the two versions is the range. The electric model has a range of 300km (186 miles) while the hybrid model has a range of 1,000km (621 miles), meaning it’s capable of long-range deliveries. Both models have a maximum takeoff altitude of 5,000 meters (16,404 feet), a wing span of 9 meters (29 feet), a height of 1.1 meters (3.6 feet), and a length of 6.7 meters (22 feet).
The full-electric model uses two cruising motors, one in the front and rear, with lift surfaces and eight lift motors getting the V400 off the ground. The hybrid model uses a combustion engine at the rear for cruising while keeping the same lift surfaces and eight motors for lift.
To ensure the V400 passes regulatory and safety testing, it is equipped with various redundant systems including flight control systems, sensors, and radars, along with an optional parachute. The V400 also has an onboard flight control system and a sense-and-avoid system, making it capable of flying autonomously. To make sure it doesn’t lose connection in the air, it is equipped with 4G and 5G equipment.
Development road map
Autoflight plans to produce its V400 for both cargo use and passenger use with the hopes to get its cargo flights up first, thanks to recently introduced Chinese regulations that allow companies to trial run cargo flights. The commercial cargo market will likely be a larger and steady part of the company’s income for the foreseeable future until passenger flights make their way out of the legal, regulation, and testing phases.