Developers from Optiplane. Unmanned systems LLC are designing hybrids and tiltrotors in Novosibirsk Akademgorodok. They believe that these vehicles are meant to be transport of the future.
The main goal of the company founded in 2014 is the development of drones for fast and cheap air goods delivery over long distances. With RUSNANO financial support, the company developed Cilibri-S hybrid model and Colibri-M unmanned tiltrotor. Kirill Yakovchenko, company’s CEO, proudly tells that the Ministry of Defense has already interested in results of their work.
Colibri-S hybrid has become the first produced model. This small drone can carry over loads weighing up to 1.5 kg over 20 km. Maximum speed reaches 20 m/s and flight time is 30 minutes. Its technical characteristics are close to DJI copters, but they are weaker in terms of cargo capacity and flying distance. This autumn, the company issued the first series of Colibri-S in 50 copies.
However, the company’s main expectations are related with Colibri-M tiltrotor. Like in other similar devices, Colibri-M propellers operate as lifting ones on takeoff and whilst landing, and as pulling ones in horizontal position. This option increases the flight speed up to 150 km/h.
This drone can conduct 100 km flights, carrying over up to 7 kg of loads. Kirill Yakovchenko hopes to release it to volume production in a year.
Optiplane. Unmanned Systems company hopes to enter the world market soon. The company considers Amazon.com giant as a principal competitor in the drone delivery area. Its technology can be already applied but are prevented by US legal restrictions. Such a holdback definitely plays into Novosibirsk citizens’ hands.
The company is obviously not going to conquer a market by means of low price policy. At the prime cost of $3000—4000, the market price of Colibri-S is ranging between $6000—8000 (depending on complete set). Kirill Yakovchenko still finds difficulty in giving the price of Colibri-M, but suggests that it will threefold higher than the price of smaller hybrid.
The company is not going to stop on these two models. It is planning to design a prototype model of big tiltrotor for transferring cargo weighing up to several hundred kilograms or even people in 2-3 years. The head of Optiplane thinks that tiltrotors will be common individual transportation like current cars in 10-20 years. Ultimately, many things used now seemed to be a fantastic fiction 30-50 years ago.
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