The First Jet Flying Drone is here and it's Awesome!
Propellers are standard parts of any drones of most, if not all, models available in the market. While the thrust of rotors is enough to bring these crafts airborne, nothing can beat the extra power and enhanced speed of a jet engine. However, the technology has not been adopted to the compact bodies of drones yet.
Not until AB5 JetQuad.
FusionFlight is successfully rethinking the future of drones with their newest jet-powered craft. The company based in Dallas, Texas, has applied the new approach into quadcopters. According to its developers, AB5 JetQuad is currently the smallest jet-powered UAV that is capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).
The typical set-up of four rotors and propellers is replaced by four micro-turbine jet engines that are powered by diesel. These jet engines can produce around 200 horsepower or 149 kW at full throttle combined.
The engineers at FusionFlight have developed H-Configuration, a proprietary vectoring system. That means the thrust power from the engines can be redirected vertically during take-off and landing. On the other hand, they can also be redirected horizontally when flying.
The current production prototype of the drone can reportedly reach a top speed of more than 300 miles per hour (483 kilometers per hour).
Additionally, it has 15 minutes of cruising or 30 minutes of hovering at 5-gallon (19-liter) in its fuel tank. The designers are planning to add other components in the future, such as afterburners, that will boost their speed dramatically.
Combining its power and thrust, it can carry a payload of up to 40 pounds (18 kilograms). Cargo can be attached to the drone body itself or using a line dangling underneath. With the latter payload configuration, it will be safe from the blast of the engines as they are never vectored straight below.
The entire craft body is reported to weigh at 50 pounds (23 kilograms). A full tank of fuel will add another 40 pounds.