3D Robotics

Sony's VTOL drone first flights

Transitions to and from vertical pretty well!

From Gizmodo:

The drones can carry up to 22 pounds of cargo, but this isn’t a bid to compete against Amazon and Google as they race to create delivery drones. Aerosense’s majestic baby aircraft are meantfor aerial infrastructure and land surveys, not to replace your pizza guy. Unfortunately, that means these drones will only be used to service business customers, so you’ll have to look elsewhere if you want to fly something like it.

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  • Developer

    I agree with Gary. If the main purpose of this design is for surveying, then it's total overkill. VTOL is cool as **** from a technical standpoint, but has a lot of caveats when put into practice.

    In my opinion there is way to much focus in the marked on trying to make everything into 'just press a button" type of solutions. In most specialized markets there are skill and knowledge requirements for operating equipment. Somehow trying to avoid this on bleeding edge flying machines, just doesn't make sense to me.

    Keep it simple. There is no problem hand/catapult launching even a largish survey plane in the 2-3 meter wing span range. And you don't need much room to get it down again either. And with 2h+ flight times the landing area doesn't even have to be that close to the survey target.

  • I think that's more of a prototype, than the real deal thing.

  • Here is machine translation of Japanese PC news site.

    It looks like fly with 3DR flight controller!

    The first time, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) type of drone that it is possible to make use of the advantages of helicopter and airplane both the state of the test flight was published in the video "AS-DT01-E", the Kobe University Graduate School of Systems and Information Science Department of Systems It is a joint research project with Science Assistant Professor of Kubo Ura (Urakubo) Takamitsu et al. Ura Kubo and colleagues have research and development of the tilt-rotor type of drone to be switched the rotary vane type and the airplane types from 2010 for the disaster of the information collection, Taniguchi Hisashi of ZMP to visit the state of research from around 2012 in that it had focused early like.

    About 2m as Hairikomeru on the size of the narrow land. It weighs 7kg, payload 3kg. Maximum speed of the flight time is 2 hours or more at 170km. It is the goal of that to have a helicopter equivalent hovering performance. Aircraft center has double inversion rotor, I have installed a model section and the three of attitude control for the duct fan to the left and right wings. Flight controllers to fly the drone, it is of that and use it to remodel the thing of 3D Robotics, which are seeking to develop a drone in the open source on the base.


  • Still I am convinced that tail-sitters will dominate the industry because efficiency.

    I mean vast majority of taks is - 'hey I want something that isn't a PITA to take off and land'

  • Did you notice how it got shifted sideways at the end in the landing (either some residual energy or wind).  I'm wondering if the three outer motors are large enough to actually control it properly.

  • Moderator

    Just take off somewhere that you don't need VTOL and fly into the job. Once airborne those ducted fans and drag inducing holes are just passengers. Replace them with batteries and at least the passengers are working for some of the trip.  Its a great headline grabber, who is for betting they end up with a conventional flying wing of some sort.

  • There are other coaxial mono tiltrotor designs, but they generally fall into the wing with a hole category or the pseudo tailsitter category (like the Baldwin mono tiltrotor).

    To be fair, Aerosense is doing a primarily aerial survey for infrastructure and agriculture play, so long distance flight would be the norm. As for the amateur hour feeling, remember for the most part, this is simply Sony money but otherwise ZMP is currently running the show here, as is common with japanese companies (they prefer joint ventures of a sort, rather than outright acquisition at first). Looking at ZMP's current lineup, you can't fault them for having a bit of a hobbiest look.


  • "fly for up to two hours, maxing out at 106 miles an hour" not too bad? good for land survey I think

  • @John, I remember that thing now!  Wow...  that was a long time ago.  

    I'm extremely curious about the claimed 22lb payload.  Maybe that is for a theoretical scaled up version.  Certainly the demo mechanics shown cannot lift 22lbs payload, not even 22lbs AUW.  A version of this that can do that would be very large indeed.  I don't think I've seen motors possible of that.  It would take a LOT of power on props that small.

    And as always, I wonder how it does landing in a breeze?

    I really don't see how one of these VTOL's is going to work unless it looks an awful lot like a V-22.  There's a reason that is the first successful full-scale production VTOL.

  • That giant hole in the wing looks like it would kill efficiency.
    I suspect all they have created is something average at both jobs.

    They day someone can make a highly efficient fixed wing that also has VTOL capabilities (even if it has poor VTOL performance) will be when the nut is cracked.

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