Florida-based Undefined Technologies has announced a successful test flight for its eVTOL ion propulsion drone Silent Ventus with the aircraft hitting its projected flight time and lifting power.
According to Undefined Technologies, the flight marks a major milestone for the emerging dual-use cargo delivery drone. During the 4 1/2 minute flight, the aircraft demonstrated its flight performance beyond reaching steady-state conditions, with higher efficiency power delivery systems and noise levels below 75 dB. The company is said to be working towards 15-minute flights with noise levels below 70 dB by the end of 2023, overcoming noise restrictions for the last-mile cargo delivery sector.
Tomas Pribanic, Founder and CEO of Undefined Technologies, said: “We’ve been on this upward trajectory for nearly a whole year, working hard on overcoming many technical challenges related to craft’s cooling systems, battery lifetime, avionics, and noise-abatement technologies. This milestone secures our vision of making ion propulsion technology viable for use in atmospheric conditions. I’m incredibly proud of our highly dedicated team who has been relentless in bringing our breakthrough over to the next development phase.”
Thomas Benda Jr., Lead Aerospace Engineer at Undefined Technologies, added: “This 4+ min flight required advances in the chemical composition of the batteries that can now provide us with higher energy densities. This improvement is part of our efforts to target lighter weights.”
The core element of the aircraft is said to be the Ion Booster, which generates the ion cloud to yield higher levels of thrust, up to 150% compared to current ion thruster technologies. The boost of thrust generated by the innovative technology creates a technical and commercial opportunity for ion thrusters to become a viable option for electric propulsion. The company is believed to be aiming to develop a production-ready serial drone in 2024.