Two bladed rotors mounted on the wingtip provide thrust in takeoff and landing, but scissor closed in flight to become part of the wing. Custom Joby electric motors directly drive both wingtip blades, as well the tilting tail rotor, and contribute to a low noise signature. Joby motor controllers drive the wingtip motors and provide precise and reliable control of both RPM and position.
A future 275 lb-class hybrid-electric UAV development of this configuration has the potential to become the first VTOL aircraft to achieve 24 hour endurance.
The Lotus has its roots in the NASA “Dos Samara” UAV concept. Although clever, this configuration experiences various structural and aerodynamic compromises by using single-bladed wingtip rotors. The Lotus addresses all of these with a 2-bladed configuration incorporating a deceptively simple mechanism to transform these surfaces from rotor blades to wingtips in seconds.
|Demonstrator||Potential Production UAV|
|Gross weight||55 lb||275 lb class|
|Payload||7 lb||60 lb|
|Wingspan||11 ft||22 ft|
|Endurance||1+ hr||24 hr|
|Cruise speed||62 knots||100 knots|
|Cruise altitude||10,000 ft||21,000 ft|
|Total power||4 hp||20 hp|
|Total battery mass||10 lb||25 lb|
|Fuel capacity||N/A||9 gallons (diesel)|