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Aergility’s Atlis UAV Shoulders Impressive Payload

Heavy Lifting via Heavy Thinking

Aergility—the Florida-based company that develops and builds autonomous, long-range, high-payload, cargo-carrying, hybrid-electric, vertical takeoff and landing, unmanned aerial vehicles—has unveiled a prototype of its ATLIS UAV.

The vehicle’s long-range, heavy-lift capabilities are conducive to humanitarian, disaster-relief, military, and industrial missions conducted in areas where ground transportation is impossible, impractical, or flat-out dangerous.

At an empty weight of nine-hundred-pounds, a 15’ 4” longitudinal dimension, and a hefty, six-hundred-pound useful load, Atlis is a large UAV. Size, however, is among the lesser of Atlis’s distinctions. Engineers, aerodynamicists, and pilots are apt to be more impressed with Aergility’s patented, Managed Autorotation Technology, which enables Atlis to achieve transition-less flight from multi-rotor, vertical takeoff and landing to autogyro-like forward flight.

During vertical takeoff and landing, ATLIS’s battery-powered rotors behave like those of a conventional, multi-rotor drone. Once airborne, a diesel-burning, pusher, turboprop provides forward thrust. Thereafter, however, Atlis’s rotors go into a passive, autorotation mode (autogyro-style) and are managed by an onboard computer which controls the aircraft by varying individual rotor speeds. While in passive mode, the rotors regenerate the battery. Nifty, yes?

By dint of this clever syncretism of electrical, digital, gas-turbine, and aerodynamic technologies, Atlis can transport a five-hundred pound payload three-hundred miles at one-hundred miles-per-hour—a feat certain to raise eyebrows and interest among drone operators.



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