Since the wobbly auto-gyro shut off from fashion, engineers have tried designing an art that gets the top to bottom lift of any helicopter’s cutting blades with the horizontal press of a plane is complicated to pull off. Admired successes, like the AV-8 Harrier series and V-22 Osprey, angle forced down for takeoff and behind during flight. Experts at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis are creating a drone that similarly transforms and is stocked with solar power panels to prolong its deployment.
That longer flight time should make it viable for farmers to put it to use for aerial surveying with their land, pinpointing spots to irrigate or fertilize. The Solar Unmanned Air medium/vehicle: Quad (SUAV: Q), as the drone is called, will take off top to bottom and unfolds to a six-foot wingspan for air travel. It needs to be that large to take its multispectral camera for measuring crop health, as well as provide toned space for more sun cells, but can be folded up to fit at the back of a pickup truck.
However, there are sweet videos of the SUAV: Q working out with in the air and turning to plane mode with appropriate sound effects, so we can only believe its still being analyzed. But extending flight time is a perpetual goal for drone makers, which continue to boost battery pack life and try away hydrogen-cell alternatives.