After operating in relative incognito mode for four years, the Advanced Aircraft Company has announced a new gas-electric VTOL drone. With dual payloads and 3.5 hours of continual flight time, the system is now available on the market, following extensive Beta testing.
The news came, as it often does, via news release. In it, the company announced its new Hybrid Advanced Multirotor Unmanned Aircraft System – also known as HAMR. The release also announces its latest round of funding, led by Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors.
Let’s take a look.
It’s really all about energy density, or the amount of energy that can be provided relative to weight. Although batteries have been improving, they simply cannot yet compete with liquid fuel when it comes to energy density. Fuel-powered internal combustion engines can run longer with an equivalent weight of liquid fuel when compared with batteries.
And so, a hybrid can provide the best of both worlds – including the advantage of longer flights when necessary.
Gas-electric VTOL hybrid drone
Before we get any further into this, let’s take a look at the product.
And let’s see it in action:
The deets on the new gas-electric hybrid drone
It’s an interesting design, with a total of six motors. We’ve yet to see quite this configuration, though it’s possible it’s been done before. Here’s what the company says about the product:
The HAMR utilizes a series hybrid gas-electric propulsion system that incorporates an electronic fuel injected and computer-controlled 35cc single-piston engine driving an integrated generator producing up to 2000W to power six independent brushless DC electric motors and a backup battery. This configuration allows for up to 3.5 hours of flight time, six times longer than a conventional battery-powered multirotor aircraft. Multiple redundant systems, remote engine starting, and onboard batteries ensure the aircraft can operate with a high margin of safety. In the event of an engine failure or an electric motor failure, the craft can abort and land safely… Additionally, the HAMR is highly portable and can be launched within minutes without the need for ground support infrastructure. The system can be disassembled and stored in a single case and easily transported in a conventional passenger or small military vehicle.
The release says the drone is suitable for “surveying & mapping, critical infrastructure inspection, precision agriculture, public safety and defense applications, including long-endurance ISR, and search and rescue missions.”
The company has received funding of $2 million, including the latest round of $850K, led by Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors. Here’s the word from Bill Fredericks, founder and CEO of AAC:
After four years of development, testing and validation, we are proud to announce our entry into the unmanned systems market with HAMR. Our high-performance gas-electric hybrid propulsion system and aerodynamic airframe designs enable long-endurance operations. This provides a significant competitive advantage to our customers by doubling the productivity of their pilots.
This gas-electric hybrid drone is now available
It has already been field-tested in Beta and is ready for primetime. If you’re interested, you can find more information – and even schedule a demo – right here.
It’s an interesting design and one of a growing number of hybrid drone options on the market.
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