Teledrone Mark II (defunct)
Skelmersdale, Lancashire, United Kingdom
Teledrone Ltd is based in the United Kingdom and was incorporated to design an affordable electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft for advanced air mobility (AAM). Leading the Teledrone project is Colin Hilton, with over 10,000 command hours on Boeing and Airbus types and a qualified trainer. Previous inventions of his were financed by the British Technology Group (BTG) and demonstrated to Margaret Thatcher’s Minister of Technology and the National Physical Laboratory.
Hilton works with a private investor with aviation interests, Peter Day, and a commercial drone manufacturer in order to to steer development of prototypes. He sees the electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft being used for reconnaissance, infantry maneuvers and the leisure market.
Teledrone Mark II sub-scale prototype (now defunct)
The Teledrone Mark II is a 2⁄3 scale prototype entered into the third phase of the GoFly Prize competition. Essentially a version of the Mark I with the lower quadcopter removed to facilitate the trip to California, its first flight-test took place in February 2020 inside a gym in the United Kingdom. Subsequently the vehicle would crash during its first outdoor just prior to the event, eventually attributed to a compass calibration problem resulting from its transportation between the United Kingdom and United States.
The multicopter had four propellers, four electric motors and four batter packs. The target cruise speed for the eVTOL aircraft was the same as the Mark I, 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt).
The design was based upon Doctor Who, a British science fiction TV show whose main character travels through space and time in a British blue police box (call box). Hilton chose the color red, since the red public call box, is already a British icon. Since you can put electric motors, propellers and a controller on just about anything to make it fly, the Teledrone was invented.
One goal with this version was also to maintain the weight under 25 kg (55 lb), which allowed the aircraft to be registered as a drone in the USA prior to the GoFly event.
Hilton saw the aircraft as being remotely controlled prior to the passenger having the same controller in the aircraft, to allow them to pilot the aircraft themselves, with future versions being autonomous. One application for the Teledrone would be to program a route to fly a child back and forth to school.
Teledrone has the goal of making a low cost eVTOL aircraft that is easy to fly with construction along the lines of an IKEA product. Ordered online, shipped the same day and flying that evening. This will allow individuals, companies, organizations and the military to use eVTOL aircraft for affordable advanced air mobility (AAM) and related applications.
- Aircraft type: Sub-scale eVTOL multicopter prototype
- Capacity: 1 person
- Cruise speed: 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt)
- Cruise altitude: 457 m (1,500 ft)
- Range: 8 km (5 miles) at cruise speed and altitude
- Empty weight: 25 kg (55 lb)
- Propellers: 4 propellers
- Electric motors: 4 electric motors
- Battery type: 4 LiPo batteries, made for ease-of-use swapping
- 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. There are also redundancies of critical components in the sub-systems of the aircraft.
- Teledrone website
- Teledrone Blogspot website
- Collin Hilton YouTube Channel
- Article: Meet the Teams: Get to Know Team Teledrone, From the United Kingdom, Go Fly Prize, Jan. 15, 2019
- Video: Indoor untethered remotely piloted flight test on Feb. 20, 2020, Colin Hilton, Feb. 21, 2020
- Video: Indoor untethered remotely piloted flight test on Feb. 25, 2020, Colin Hilton, Feb. 25, 2020
- Video: Outdoor untethered remotely piloted flight test on Feb. 28, 2020, Colin Hilton, Mar. 11, 2020