Aerial Vehicle Automation
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Aerial Vehicle Automation was founded by David Gonzales II, CEO and Kyle Johnson in April 2016. The company has raised $500,000.00 USD in investments and commitments from a former Chief Sales Officer from the internet services provider, Yahoo! Inc.
Before Gonzales and Johnson started their company, they were building small drones and flying them which led to discussions of the possibility of scaling them up to larger aircraft to see if larger electric drone-like aircraft could do aviation related jobs just as well and at a much less expensive rate. They started with a core technology demonstrator which was used to validate the electronics, flight control and ability to make a scaled-up multi-rotor aircraft with a 400 lbs (181 kg) payload, then made a test flight program and had success with this program.
The Winged X8 is hybrid-electric VTOL, an upgraded version of the X8 eVTOL aircraft, can carry up to 200 lbs (91 kg) of cargo with 1,500 lbs (680 kg) maximum thrust, takes off and lands vertically, then flies using a wing for peak efficiency during forward flight. The Winged X8 has an addition of a gasoline engine, a pusher prop in the rear and a 28 ft (8.53 m) wide delta wing, the aircraft can increase it’s range to around 300 miles (483 km) with 5 hours endurance, while caring 200 lbs (91 kg) of cargo and a full load of fuel. The aircraft fuselage is the cargo bay which has a side door and a nose door for loading and off-loading.
The range and time in the air will differentiate depending upon the weight of the cargo and it’s mission. For example, if the cargo load is smaller, such as fitting the aircraft with cameras for surveillance and intelligence gathering, the aircraft will have a longer range and duration time in the air. That is, if you have 80 lbs (36 kg) of cargo, it can fly 600 miles (966 km) for 10 hours. Once the battery technology gets better, the Winged X8 will be converted to full-electric.
The company foresees the Winged X8 to be used for almost as many types of missions which commercial, government and military customers can find a use for. For example, cargo could be used for business for a residential delivery service, to carry cargo to oil rigs, construction job sites in urban areas or remote construction sites. In addition, the aircraft could be used for such diverse missions as surveillance and intelligence, to search and rescue operations. The software and avionics is located inside the fuselage.
The company makes everything for the aircraft, from the propulsion system, to hardware and software, making their own battery packs, speed controllers and having propellers made to their specifications. The company says their Winged X8 aircraft is 10 times less expensive to own and operate than a helicopter. Or 10X and 10X. Ten (10) times reduction costs in building the aircraft and ten (10) times less expensive per hour, to operate.
The aircraft can be piloted either autonomously or remotely. The company states their aircraft can be scaled up to a larger size if specified by its customers. A static test stand is used to physically test the properties of propellers, rpm levels and to record other data, to ensure the accuracy of the test data. There are patents pending on the vehicle architecture.
The company is focusing on keeping the aircraft as simple as possible and have a plan on more efficient ways to manufacture the aircraft, to keep manufacturing costs down. Using a clean sheet design will allow this process of low manufacturing and operating costs to successfully happen.
For example, instead of using folding landing gear with wheels, the use of stationary landing skids will keep costs low for production and for the end user. The fuselage is made of carbon fiber and aluminium, the landing skids are aluminum and other parts are manufactured using 3-D printing. Using a combination of various components, the company estimates this aircraft can be ramped-up quickly for mass production. There are patents pending on the vehicle architecture.
Safety features include redundancy and other safety systems. The aircraft can have 1 to 2 propellers stop and still have complete control of the aircraft. There is more redundancy in the aircraft such as multiple flight controllers and back-up systems. In the event of a loss of vertical and take off capability, the aircraft can land like an airplane. Customers can also purchase the option for installing a parachute.
The company plans to manufacture and sell their aircraft to the end user and will not be in the business of operating their own aircraft for other companies.
- Aircraft Type: Hybrid-electric VTOL cargo aircraft
- Passengers: 0
- Piloting: Autonomous or remote
- Cruise speed: 60 mph (97 km/h)
- Flight Time: 5 hours
- Range: 300 miles (483 km)
- Maximum thrust: 1,500 lbs (680 kgs)
- Payload maximum weight: 200 lbs (91 kg)
- VTOL Propellers: 8
- Electric motors: 8
- Pusher prop: 1
- Gasoline engine: 1
- Fuselage: Composite aluminum
- Cargo doors: 2
- Wing type: Delta wing, 28 ft (8.53 m) wide
- Landing gear: Skid type
- Future power source: When battery technology becomes more advanced, the aircraft will be converted to all-electric
- Safety features: 1 to 2 motors can stop without loss of aircraft control. Parachute can be purchased for additional safety. Aircraft can land like an airplane in an emergency situation.