Drones are what everyone is getting into now, but even the expensive ones only fly for a short while, mostly minutes. But Horizon Unmanned Systems (HUS) have used hydrogen to enable their latest drone to fly for up to four hours. The new ‘Hycopter’ drone uses a not so new hydrogen fuel cell technology which not only provides enough power to power it but also weighs a lot less than batteries.
The fuel less can store 120g (4.2oz) of hydrogen gas at 350 bar (5,076 psi) in the prototypes acrylic tubing. Most drones only last for around twenty-five minutes but as the most common use is filming – this isn’t really very practical, but the Hycopter is constructed out of carbon fibre tubing to keep it light, the final product will weigh 5kg (11b).
The four hour flight time is without carrying any load, but that drops to a still decent two and a half hours when flying with 2.2 pounds, which is the weight of two iPad Airs. Amazon’s recent attempt to launch its drone based delivery service was limited to 15-20 minute delivery times as the battery life was short, but the new Hycopter could enable Amazon to make longer deliveries.
HUS are looking to fly the prototype by layer this year. Pre-orders are being accepted from interested customers and the price is yet to be released.