Drones

Record-breaking hybrid quadcopter flies for over 10 hours

Record-breaking hybrid quadcop...
The modified HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter is prepared for its flight
The modified HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter is prepared for its flight
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The HYBRiX 2.1, in its non-modified form
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The HYBRiX 2.1, in its non-modified form
The modified HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter is prepared for its flight
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The modified HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter is prepared for its flight

With perhaps a few exceptions, battery-electric multicopter drones typically can't fly for longer than about 30 minutes. Such is not the case, however, with their hybrid counterparts – one of which recently broke its own endurance record.

Made by Spanish startup Quaternium, the HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter features a gasoline/battery-electric hybrid drive system that reportedly gives it a flight time of up to four hours per fill/charge – in its stock form, that is.

Back in 2017, the 2.0 model set a world record by remaining aloft for precisely four hours and 40 minutes. This February, an experimental version of the 2.1 model surpassed that figure, going for eight hours and 10 minutes. Now it's broken the record again, by hovering in place for a reported 10 hours and 14 minutes.

The HYBRiX 2.1, in its non-modified form
The HYBRiX 2.1, in its non-modified form

Several enhancements made this possible, with the most notable being an oversized 16-liter (4.2-US gal) fuel tank slung underneath, and the addition of a fuel-injection system to the drone's 2-stroke engine. Made by Spanish company Löweheiser, the latter system is reportedly small enough that its inclusion resulted in virtually no weight or performance penalties.

In its off-the-shelf form, the HYBRiX 2.1 weighs 13 kg (29 lb), can carry up to 10 kg (22 lb) of cargo or accessories, and has a cruising speed of 50 km/h (31 mph) with a top end of 80 km/h (50 mph).

Its latest record-breaking flight can be seen in the following video.

Source: Quaternium

New World Record of 10 hours 14 minutes with HYBRiX drone

12 comments
SteveMc
That’s great but a real-world off the shelf version from this company isn’t going to match anywhere near its performance in proper use is it?
For starters, it’s entire payload was taken up with the fuel required to flu for this time period. Also, it didn’t technically ‘fly’, it hovered. So negligible wind resistance and energy required to actually travel.....or do anything, other than hover and burn fuel.
michael_dowling
Two stroke engines are much more polluting than 4 stroke. You can see it in the video,pumping out toxic clouds of pollution on startup. On top of that,any ICE engine produces CO2 constantly. Big thumbs down from me. I would like to see a test drone hovering for 10 hours powered by a H2 fuel cell power source,producing only water vapor exhaust.
Alien
I'm all for the use of drones for innumerable functions..but am I alone in fearing the damage that could be inflicted by these unguarded props on so many drones?
Surely it would not be either difficult or expensive to have a simple surround to protect anything and more importantly anybody from being sliced to pieces. And what about insurance? I must have compulsory insurance for my car but shouldn't there be similar provision for drones?
lee54
I think hovering is a fair test. But you are correct than in real-world use, the flight duration would be less. Payload, though, is not needed in every application, like video surveillance. So extra fuel capacity for those applications is a bonus. For applications where cargo is carried, obviously you would have less range.
BlueOak
Wait, weighs 29 lbs and payload is 22 lbs? Dry, with no gas?

In the said flight it carried 4.2 gallons of gas. Doesn’t that gas alone weigh 26-1/2 lbs?
Kevin Schmall
Great progress! I can't wait to see what is next.
bwana4swahili
Four motors/props!? Where's the redundancy required for a truly commercial drone? Change it into a hexacopter with a hydrogen fuel cell and I might be convinced they have a worthwhile drone...
Oliver Polden
If endurance is what they’re after, why not just use a helicopter which is way more efficient than a multi rotor and you don’t need redundant power systems adding extra weight?
Rick Stoltzfus
2 strokes burn a small amount of oil, they don't "pump out toxic pollution." No need for fear mongering. And give up on unrealistic expectations for "hydrogen fuel cells," they aren't magic.
JeffK
michael_dowling - Actually, the "ICE" only produces CO2 when it is running while you and I produce it 'round the clock. I'm certainly thankful that my formal education was completed a few decades before the anthropogenic climate change indoctrination took a firm hold in academe; I was rather impressionable as a lad and might have ended up unhappily slogging through a shallow sea of self loathing. I don't care for two stroke engines either; they are extremely noisy and scare the wildlife but I can't argue with their power to weight ratio.