Santa Cruz, California, USA
The Joby Aviation Lotus was designed in partnership with NASA to be demonstrate that a Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL) aircraft would be able to achieve a 24-hour flight endurance. It was a scaled demonstrator and received the 2018 Vertical Flight Society’s Paul E. Haueter Award.
The Lotus was a vectored thrust tricopter with a fixed wing and three propellers. The twin blade wing-tip propellers would fold outward in cruise mode, adding lift to the wing. The tail propeller, mounted atop the rudder, would tilt forward to become a tractor prop for powered cruising. The model was electric with a 4.5 kg battery capable of 2.98 kWs of power, although a full size version would have been an electric-gad hybrid. The demonstrator was 24.9kg with a 3.35 m wingspan and capable of a 3.2 kg payload. Cruise speed was 114.8 km/h and cruise altitude was 3,048 m. The demonstrator was capable of over one hour’s flight time.
Had a full sized Lotus drone been developed it would have been roughly twice the size, five times the weight with a 27.2 kg payload and capable of over 24 hours of flight.
In May, 2018 the Vertical Flight Society presented Joby Aviation’s CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, its Paul E. Haueter Award (given for an outstanding technical contribution to the field of VTOL aircraft development other than a helicopter or an operational vertical flight aircraft) for successfully demonstrating the world’s first high-speed multi-passenger electric VTOL aircraft.
|Specification||Demonstrator||Potential Production UAV|
|Gross weight||55 lb (24.9 kg)||275 lb (124.7 kg) class|
|Payload||7 lb (3.2 kg)||60 lb (27.2 kg)|
|Wingspan||11 ft (3.35 m)||22 ft (6.71 m)|
|Endurance||1+ hr||24 hr|
|Cruise speed||62 kts (114.8 kph)||100 kts (185.2 kph)|
|Cruise altitude||10,000 ft (3048 m)||21,000 ft (6400.8 m)|
|Total power||4 hp (2.98 kW)||20 hp (14.91kW)|
|Total battery mass||10 lb (4.5 kg)||25 lb (11.3 kg)|
|Diesel Fuel capacity||N/A||9 gallons (34.06 liters)|
- Website: Joby Aviation
- Press release: The Next Phase at Joby, Feb 1, 2018
- U.S. Patent: Aerodynamically efficient lightweight vertical take-off and landing aircraft with pivoting rotors and stowing rotor blades, March 18, 2014
- Paper: Design and Testing of the Joby Lotus Multifunctional Rotor VTOL UAV, Pranay Sinha, 2015
- Article: Under contract with NASA, Joby has developed a truly novel VTOL configuration: the Lotus, sUAS News, July 9, 2017
- Article: EAS IX: JoeBen Pulls off a Hat Trick, Sustainable Skies, May 14, 2015
- Article: The Joby S2 VTOL Concept, Vertiflite,
- Article: AHS International Leads Transformative Vertical Flight Initiative, eVTOL News, November 1, 2014
- Video: Joby Aviation Lotus, stealthyf23, April 13, 2016
- Video: VTOL UAV with Rotor blades that merge to a wing edge Joby Aviation, TilTuli, July 31, 2015
- Video: Joby Aviation Lotus wingtip rotor flow simulation, Joby Aviation, April 8, 2014