Atlis Gen 3 (prototype)
Dunnellon, Florida, USA www.aergility.com
The Aergility Corporation was founded in 2015 in Dunnellon, Florida, USA by Jim Vander Mey, CEO and Larry Yonge, VP of Research and Development. Aergility develops autonomous, long-range, high-payload cargo hybrid-electric vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
On Apr. 20, 2022, Aergility announced the company has made the Atlis Gen 3 long-range hybrid-electric heavy-lift vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) full-scale prototype cargo drone. The company then revealed the Atlis Gen 3 to the public at the AUVSI Xponential convention (April 25-28, 2022) in Orlando, Florida, USA.
The Atlis Gen 3 autonomous heavy-lift hybrid-electric VTOL cargo drone has one main front propeller (for forward flight), one turbo-engine, six stationary rotors (nine feet in diameter, each) for VTOL flight, six electric motors, battery packs, one main high wing, a conventional tail and has fixed-skid helicopter-type landing gear. The turbo engine generates electricity to recharge the batteries used to power the avionics of the aircraft and for the VTOL propellers.
The cruise speed of the cargo drone is 100 mph (161 km/h), with a range of 300-600 miles (482-965 km) and has a maximum payload of 400-500 lb (181-227 kg). The area of the cargo bay is 40 cubic feet with rear loading and unloading capability. The aircraft carries 500 lb (227 kg) of cargo with a range of 300 m (482 km) or 400 lb (181 kg) of cargo with a range of 600 m (965 km).
The cargo is loaded in the rear of the aircraft and the cargo bay holds standard cargo containers such as Euro containers. There are also several side hatches on each side of the fuselage and are used as needed to help loading, unloading and strapping down the packages. The aircraft also has a video camera on the top of the tail facing forward for remote viewing of what is happening with the aircraft.
In forward flight, lift is provided by a small cord high-wing and airflow through the rotors provides additional lift just like an autogyro. During forward flight, the wing carries half the load and the rotors carry half the load, according to the company. Computer managed autorotation enables the aircraft to maintain lift and flight control by varying rotor RPMs while drawing no battery power. In addition, the when the VTOL rotors are not powered and are rotating freely, they are used as generators to charge the batteries during flight. Aergility has patented this ability to manage autorotation and generate electricity to charge the batteries during flight and it's called Managed Autorotation Technology (MAT).
The aircraft has been meticulously designed for safety, reliability, efficiency, low purchase cost, low maintenance cost, high payload weight, a large area for cargo and long range capability. In addition, the aircraft can be broken down and transported by truck, trailer, ship or aircraft. The aircraft also have multiple safety features. One such feature of the aircraft is when the cargo is outside of allowable center of gravity parameters, the aircraft will not take off.
Aergility's mission for the aircraft will be marketed for humanitarian aid, medical aid, developing worlds, emergency parts (in remote locations), offshore oil rigs and military needs where there is limited or low-quality infrastructure. The VTOL cargo aircraft will be very useful for island nations such as Indoneasia that has 17,504 islands and the Philippines with 7,000 islands. For continents such as Africa with over 400,000 small villages that don't have established roads and railroads for deliveries, the aircraft will be extremely useful and practical in moving important cargo. In the future, the company does foresee their drone being used in the package delivery service.
The Atlis Gen 3 is the first full-scale prototype and the company expects to make an Atlis Gen 4 before it makes its final serial production model. As of April 2022, the company has not stated the when they expect to see the aircraft ready to roll off the production line but they do intend to build their manufacturing facility in Dunnellon, Florida.
Propellers: 1 propeller for forward flight, 6 rotors for VTOL flight.
Turbo-engine: 1 turboprop 90 kW multi-fuel engine
Electric Motors: 6 electric motors
Power source: Multi-petroleum fuel and battery packs
Fuselage: 3D printed composite fuselage
Fuselage length: 15.3 ft (4.66 m)
Wings: 1 main high-wing (3D printed)
Tail: 1 conventional tail
Landing gear: Fixed skid type landing gear
Safety features: Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers (or ducted fans) and motors on the aircraft so if one or more propellers (ducted fans) or motors fail, the other working propellers (or ducted fans) and motors can safely land the aircraft. When the cargo is outside of allowable center of gravity parameters, the aircraft will not take off. There are also redundancies in the sub-systems of the aircraft.
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