Teledrone Mark IV (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 an accountant, electrical engineer, IP associate and executive director to steer the development of the Teledrone prototypes and foresees the electric vertical and takeoff (eVTOL) aircraft to be used for reconnaissance, minefield maneuvers and the leisure market.
Teledrone Mark IV eVTOL multicopter prototype (now defunct)
The Teledrone Mark IV is a one passenger prototype designed for participation in the fourth and final phase of the GoFly Prize competition. While the color and design may be clearest in pictures of previous Teledrone models, the phone-box outline is retained in the fourth iteration of the prototype shown above.
The multicopter has eight propellers, eight electric motors and uses eight battery packs for its power supply. This prototype is intended to carry the weight of an adult 75 kg (165 lb) and is currently slated for testing using a dummy of around the same size and weight. The target cruise speed for the eVTOL aircraft continues at 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt) at a cruise altitude of 457 meters (1,500 ft) and with a range of 8 km (5 miles). As of November 2020, this is the Teledrone prototype that is currently undergoing flight testing.
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.
The aircraft is designed exclusively for one person, with the weight pitched between 40-50 kg (88-110 lb) unladen, meaning the aircraft has to be registered as an experimental aircraft type in the United Kingdom. However, the target market is in the United States, where kit aircraft of this kind are able to be flown unlicensed as a Part 103 ultralight vehicle.
The Mark IV is also aimed exclusively at piloted operations, being flown with the same radio-control handset as is used for testing from the ground. In future iterations, a fly-by-wire system will also supplement these means of control. At the same time, programmable versions of the flight control architecture will provide a choice between conventional X-8 configuration and wholly duplexed control. In the latter case, the lower drone will operate as a collective function to provide the bulk of the lift, while the upper drone steers its direction, what Hilton calls "a brains and brawn approach to human carriage by air."
Teledrone has the goal of making a very low cost eVTOL aircraft which is easy to fly and very affordable. Hilton wants to make his Teledrone to be made similar to an Ikea product. You order it online, it gets shipped to you in the morning, you build it and are flying it that afternoon. This will allow individuals, companies, organizations and the military, to use eVTOL aircraft for affordable advanced air mobility (AAM) and related applications.
- Aircraft type: Full scale eVTOL multicopter prototype
- Capacity: 1 person
- Cruise speed: 93 km/h (58 mph, 50 kt)
- Cruise altitude: 457 meters (1,500 ft)
- Range: 8 km (5 miles) at cruise speed and altitude
- Empty weight: 48 kg (105 lb)
- Propellers: 8 propellers
- Electric motors: 8 electric motors
- Battery type: 8 LiPo batteries made for ease-of-use swapping
- Landing gear: Fixed skid landing gear
- Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP), provides safety through redundancy for its passengers and/or cargo. DEP means having multiple propellers and motors on the aircraft so if one or more motors or propellers fail, the other working motors and propellers can safely land the aircraft. The top propeller assembly are completely independent of the bottom propeller assembly. So if the top propellers unexpected all fail, the bottom propeller assembly could land the aircraft safely to the ground and vice versa.
- 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
- Article: AHS Supports GoFly!, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2017
- Article: Flying Solo: GoFly Advances Single-Passenger Air Mobility Solutions, Vertiflite, May/June 2019
- Article: GoFly Inspires Innovation, Vertiflite, May/June 2020
- Article: GoFly Teams Prepare to Fly Again, Vertiflite, Nov/Dec 2020