Searching for heavy duty applications for HYBRiX20

Hi all!
It's been two years since we started with the HYBRiX development!!! Since some months ago we feel that development is finishing and that HYBRiX20 meets almost all the specifications that we said at the beginning.
There are a lot of challenges left to face but right now we have the feeling that HYBRiX20 is ready to do important things.
The problem i see is than this hybrid aircraft is currently doing flights very far from the potential.
We try to do flight hours but we are very small company and our ability are very limited and it is unrealistic that we spend hundreds or thousands of hours to simulate possible applications.
On the other hand our first customers usually are doing R&D projects or demos to their customes and in any case, they fly very few hours.
I see a big risk if we stall here. That is why I would like to find a few initial customers that have applications that perfectly fit the specifications of the hybrid and that need to do heavy work, I mean that they have to fly many hours a day for example.
 --- What would be a good application to make hundreds or thousands hours to HYBRiX?

I would like to hear what applications you suggest for this platform!!!

As some of you already know we can fly between 2 and 3 hours according to the payload with a total of 5 liters of fuel.

Best regards,
Jose Luis Cortes
Quaternium

Views: 1581

Comment by Jose Luis Cortes on July 29, 2017 at 10:33am

@Armin Strobel

Thank you for your words, It is not that we was struggling to find customers but there are customers who want to do things for which the hybrid is not prepared.

if we do a few thousand flight hours then the HYBRiX would be ready for some of these customers. For that reason I am looking for safe scenario applications.

@John S

We are not thinking in a early adopter program but it seems good idea. The idea of publishing experiences with customers can be very interesting, we have some customers planning to do very cool things!

Anyway we need to think how we can do something like that because our company do not have funding and build HYBRiX are expensive. Perhaps is time to search some money.

Yes, the website is obsolete. We are working on it.

Comment by ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE on July 29, 2017 at 11:02am

It supports Analog, HDMI, and Mobile Broadband streaming as well.

Customers in search and rescue or inspection are not just looking for endurance. They need the whole package with camera with zoom control, proper gimbal, pilot cam, search cam, drop cam, etc etc. Not many operators know how to put all this together and make it work smoothly. The easier you make it for a customer to buy and deploy, the easier the sell and bigger the market.

Comment by Guy McCaldin on July 29, 2017 at 11:05am

For extended endurance applications, a big component will be the TBO (Time Between Overhaul) of the internal combustion engine.  I work with sUAS in conservation applications, and I think this product could potentially bridge significant performance requirements between traditional multi-rotor and fixed wing systems.  These generally involve survey or real-time video over extended areas, from undeveloped sites (i.e. unsuitable for fixed wing takeoffs/landings).  

A particular application with market potential would be as a quick response surveillance tool for poaching in Africa.  This requires a system that can handle harsh environmental conditions, operate at night and BVOS, is capable of carrying a thermal imager payload (1-2kg), and can work for extended periods of time in remote locations.  The end goal isn't necessarily to prevent a poaching incident from happening, it's to catch the poachers before they get away, and to increase safety for rangers via actionable intelligence. 

Currently, this role is filled by traditional helicopters with an initial outlay of ~$250,000 for an R44 to multiple millions in USD for something like an MD-530, and an operating cost of ~$190 to ~$1,000 USD per hour.  sUAS have struggled to enter this space because the proven commercial systems cost too much (most are comparable equipment outlay to an R44), have low TBOs (<500 hours), and require specialist skills to maintain and operate.  Regulations have also played a factor.  Wildlife security is logically a conservative industry, so for sUAS to become an attractive option, they need to be significantly cheaper, and be able to objectively demonstrate their performance and reliability.


MR60
Comment by Hugues on July 29, 2017 at 12:51pm

About drone markets, I believe there is no future for selling hardware anymore for small businesses. Because of multiple reasons:

-It is already too late ! the spot has been taken by giant corporations with, relatively to small businesses, unlilmited capital and engineering ressources. Like DJI and a few others in more specialized applications. Even a company like 3DR which raised tens of millions of dollars could not compete in the end on drone hardware.   When you look for example at the last DJI ship that just came out on the market  and meant for industrial applications, it is unbeatable in terms of functionality, quality, price. You'd have a very hard time to build an equivalent fuinctionality and it would not even look as well finished and productized.

-Added value is not anymore in assembled/integrated UAV hardware. Drone hardware can now be found for very little money even for professional uses. And prices still continue to go down further with better functionality and quality ( see for example how today a 1000 dollars DJI Mavic pro does better video/pictures than a 10 000 dollars ship from three years ago).

-Added value is to be found in producing actionable data that is specific to the job of your customers. A farmer will want certain data, a mining industry will want some other type of data, etc.

So in other words, customers will not buy your value proposition because it flies for hours, but rather they will buy your proposition because you'll provide them with a solution to a problem they have, that is specific for their job and that they cannot solve otherwise easily. People buy a solution, they do not buy technology for itself (except a few geeks like us).

Sorry to sound pessimistic maybe but I believe, that is the reality of the market(s). So as a conclusion, try to find a job annoyance/issue/problem you could solve based on the use of your hybrid drone, in such a way that you bring a total solution to the customer (and don't expect him to learn or pilot your hybrid drone).

Comment by ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE on July 29, 2017 at 6:18pm

I would agree with Hugues that customers want a solution and not the technology. However, I disagree that the only added value comes only from drones producing actionable data. Farmers need more than data, they need their crops sprayed economically.  Maybe one day even harvested via UAV technology in certain cases. Search and Rescue teams need to find people via UAV's, deliver emergency supplies, perhaps even perform an airlift one day. The list goes on and on. All of this is not done via just software. Data is only one part of the UAV market. The commercial end of the drone market will be highly specialised and fragmented. Small companies will innovate much faster than larger ones in this market. And as Jose has also discovered, UAV hardware is really hard to do well not like writing a mobile phone app. Making small consumer drones and trying to compete with DJI is suicidal, but the commercial end of the market has lot of opportunities for companies such as this. There are all kinds of specialised UAV hardware emerging to solve different kinds of commercial problems. These markets are too fragmented for companies such as DJI. Eventually the market might consolidate around a few big companies or platforms, but we are many many years away from that.

Some key issues you have not addressed on your website Jose

1) What is the actual payload of your UAV ? MTOW is 20kg, empty is 13kg and payload

   is only 2Kg (rest is fuel) ? If payload is only 2kg, thats not a lot for a 20Kg MTOW.

2) How do you show the customer the remaining flight time while in flight ? Do you measure fuel

and calculate, etc ?

3) Show the case for the energy density of the fuel/system you have developed  being higher

than LIPO batteries (what is the equivalent weight of LIPO batteries needed ?)

Comment by zhangqi on July 30, 2017 at 8:12am

I agree with ERIC's viewpoint. 

The industrial drone markets are fragmented and need various different progessional solution, big companies such as DJI cann't meet that requirements.

The key issues and features ERIC concerned in our H2 hybrdi system:

1.MTOW is 20kg, so the payload and the fuel total are 7kg, and you can tradeoff between payload and fuel, and the fuel consumption is about 1.5kg/hour.

2.we provide the fuel level gauge sensor and fuel infomation can be collected.

3.The power density is caculated like this, fuel and engine as power module totally weigh 7kg, and outpower is 2kw, endurance is 2 hours, so the power density is  2x2/7=0.57kw/kg, and it is about two times as current LIPO batteries. 

Comment by ERIC WIKRAMANAYAKE on July 30, 2017 at 9:58am

Thats a significant advantage.

The other big advantage of this system is the transportability of the fuel source. In the field

for applications such as survey, search and rescue, its very cumbersome to be charging LIPO batteries.

Sometimes its impossible to charge a large number of batteries.

But with this power source, the fuel can be easily transported to the site and refuelled quickly. What is the re-fuelling, maintenance and setup cycle like ? Can it just be refuelled and flown again ? What about the stress on the motors, ESC's etc ? Do you have any data on this ? Should look at all the customer pain points, not just the endurance.

Also as the fuel gets burned and/or the UAV does sharp manoeuvres , does the changing fuel volume / weight affect the COG or stability ?

Comment by Cala on July 30, 2017 at 3:49pm

It´s looks interesting for agriculture surveys where you need long flying times but, not always, you have a place to land with an airplane, Big Chinesses companies are not interest in develop agriculture hardware solutions yet, so it´s looks as interesting opportunity for smaller companies; agriculture hardware is expensive in extreme yet because few companies are developing for this area; take in mind guys. ;) 

Comment by zhangqi on July 31, 2017 at 8:50am

@ERIC

You are right.

The key feature in gasoline/batteries hybrid system is fast refueling and low operation cost, Our system is plug-and-played just like batteries, and it can be used right after refueling. The maintenance period we estimated is about 100 hours, and we have tested continuous 50hours operation without any performance degrade, and we also take efforts in increasing the maintenance interval.

Because the hybrid system uses electric power converted from gasoline, the batteries only provide the addtional transient power demand, as a result the UAV can make manoeuvres but cann't be too sharp. 

We have test the maximum speed which is about 54km/hour.

Comment by Jose Luis Cortes on July 31, 2017 at 11:06am

@zhangqi

I think power density is a bit more than two times.

I am calculating about 700wh/kg with 5 liter fuel tank

It is 3,8 times the power density if compare with a 16000mAh 6S 10C than have very good power density of about 185Wh/kg.

And more than 5 times if compare with any other standard LIPO batery with 130wh/kg 

And this using two stroke and carburated engines

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