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Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

A Novel Hybrid UAV That May Change the Way People Operate Drones


An unmanned aerial vehicle.

Researchers at the National University of Singapore say they have developed an hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle that can take off and land vertically like a helicopter, and cruise horizontally like an airplane.

Credit: avioninsurance.com

Researchers at the National University of Singapore say they have developed U-Lion, a novel hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can take off and land vertically in the manner of a helicopter, while cruising horizontally like a normal airplane.

Developed over a period of four years, U-Lion is equipped with wings that can be fully retracted or expanded, to best support stability in the various flight modes. In addition, U-Lion can fly autonomously, including vertical take-off and landing, cruise flight, and transitions.

The researchers achieved optimal performance in both flying modes by designing U-Lion in tail-sitter configurations with reconfigurable wings and vectoring thrust. They say U-Lion can adopt different flying modes based on mission requirements, and will adjust the wings to achieve optimal performance. This ability enables U-Lion to fly much longer than traditional UAVs and to possess greater maneuverability compared to fixed-wing models.

From ECN Magazine
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