A whole heap of my that’s clever and obvious and hard. Hats off to the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) team that created it.

I immediately want to try and build one, but wouldn’t know where to start.

Efficient forward flight with all the benefit of VTOL.

This craft was presented in the paper:
Low, J.E., Soe Thura Win, L., bin Shaiful, D. S., Tan, C.H., Soh, G.S., & Foong, S. (2017). Design and Dynamic Analysis of a Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR). International Conference on Robotics and Automation. Singapore: IEEE.

Abstract:- This paper describes the Transformable HOvering Rotorcraft (THOR), a prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that explores a novel approach in combining the range and speed of a horizontal flying platform with the hovering and manoeuvrability of a rotor-wing. This is achieved by integrating a tailless flying wing configuration with a single-axis rotor, or monocopter. By maintaining full utilization of all aerodynamic surfaces and propulsion sources in both flight modes, this method represents the most structurally efficient approach to achieving a cruising mode and a hovering mode on the same frame. Using a dual servo and motor configuration, we propose an under-actuated system that is able to achieve controllability in 4 degrees of freedom while in its horizontal cruising mode and in 5 degrees of freedom while in its hovering mode. In both indoor and outdoor experiments, the UAV is able to transition between either flight modes seamlessly and repeatedly without the need for any additional mechanisms and actuators.

By Gary Mortimer

Founder and Editor of sUAS News | Gary Mortimer has been a commercial balloon pilot for 25 years and also flies full-size helicopters. Prior to that, he made tea and coffee in air traffic control towers across the UK as a member of the Royal Air Force.