New heavy-lift cargo UAV debuts @AUVSI
On the crowded floor of the AUVSI XPONENTIAL conference – the biggest drone show in the world – it takes something pretty unusual to stop you in your tracks. But literally three minutes after getting on the exhibition floor, I kinda had to stop in my tracks and check out the Aergility ATLIS. You’ll soon see why.
The ATLIS is billed as a long-range, heavy lift VTOL cargo UAV; its manufacturer claims it will be able to carry 500 pounds over 300 miles. That’s a serious amount of cargo. But this VTOL-style fixed-wing craft has an unusual design feature that sets it apart from the crowd, utilizing the principle of a gyrocopter for lift while in forward flight.
How does it do that?
At their simplest, a gyrocopter has a blade similar to a helicopter blade – except it is not attached to a motor. Thrust is from a pusher or puller prop that pulls the vehicle forward on the ground. As airflow moves over the chopper-style blade, it begins to autorotate, and that…