A large hybrid drone, capable of carrying 200 kg cargo, being developed by Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries has successfully completed a hover test last month.
The test model measures about 7m long, 5m wide and 2m tall, and the purpose is to test its technical possibility of a payload capacity of over 200kg and a cruising range of over 100km to function as a “flying pickup truck”. The dimensions put it in the same class as a medium weight pick-up truck.
It has 8 motor propellers powered by electricity generated by three high-performance Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R motorcycle engines, a Kawasaki release said.
Unlike regular drones that rely on battery power, this large hybrid drone uses power generated by engines and converted to electricity, enabling it to maintain high output for a long time.
Transportation of goods for short to medium-distances via helicopter tends to be expensive, thus this large drone is positioned as a low-cost aerial goods-transportation method, filling the gap between helicopters and small drones.
From concept development to design and production, the test model was completed by the Motorcycle & Engine Company, with the cooperation of the Aerospace Systems Company and the Technology Development HQ, with the aim of confirming the feasibility of the hybrid system.