A new commercial drone from Germany transforms from quadcopter into a two engine airplane to save energy and increase range.
The Quantum TRON commercial drone takes off and lands as a typical quadcopter. In the air though the drone converts into an airplane with two propeller engines.
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The concept of transforming drones is not new. Google works on Project Wing, NASA has developed this weird 10 engine drone and the Krossblade SkyProwler. German startup Quantum Systems has taken the idea seen in prototypes to a commercial product. The video below shows how the transition from quadcopter to airplane works mid-air. The towers holding the propellers turn horizontal and the rear propeller folds up. It's quite cool to watch.
As you see in the video, the Quantum System drone is also able to glide, like a sailplane.
The Quantum TRON is going into limited production next month. With 3.5m, this converting drone has an impressive wingspan. Top speed in airplane mode is 80km/h (50mph). While there are commercial drones with comparable speeds, the Quantum TRON drone needs much less energy to fly.
The batteries last for a 160km (100miles) range. Depending on speed, the batteries are good for 70 to 120 minutes flight time.
The maximum payload in the 1,750 x 320 x 390mm transport box is 2.5kg (5.5lbs).
Quantum Systems focuses on precision farming, inspection and topological mapping applications. The company just made 2nd place at a drone competition in Dubai for precision farming capabilities.
China is dominating the drone market. This innovative and made in Germany has the potential to take some market share away from Chinese drone makers in the commercial space.