VTOL drone improves on its predecessor in almost every way
Four years ago, Arizona-based start-up Krossblade announced the SkyProwler, a prosumer VTOL (vertical takeoff and landing) drone with retractable rotors. Now, the company is taking orders for the faster, lighter, longer-running and generally just more capable SkyProwler 2.
To recap, the original SkyProwler has four sets of rotors that allow it to take off and land vertically like a quadcopter, and to hover on the spot. Once it's time to get moving horizontally, however, the rotors shut off and two rear propellers kick in, allowing for faster and more efficient fixed-wing flight.
The rotor arms can then be retracted into the sides of the aircraft, switchblade-style, making it more aerodynamic. On the other hand, if users know that they're just going to be using the SkyProwler as a quadcopter, the wings can be pulled off to make it lighter and more compact.
Well, the new model has all of those same features (although it now has a single center-mounted rear prop), but a lot has been improved. For a start, at 80 mph (129 km/h), it has a 10-mph-higher top fixed-wing speed – while the first version was originally claimed to max out at 83 mph (134 km/h), the practical-use figure ended up being more around 70 mph (113 km/h).
Additional upgrades include a flatter, more aerodynamic body; a 50-percent-higher-capacity, higher-voltage battery that results in a one-hour fixed-wing flight time (that's 20 minutes longer than the original); a weight reduction of about 100 grams (3.5 oz); 20-percent larger wings for slower stall speed and increased payload; and a 30-percent larger cargo compartment to carry that payload.
There's also wider retractable landing gear for more secure landings, along with a much longer radio control link of up to 10 miles (16 km). The latter is possible thanks to an extendable antenna that's built into the carrying case, which is in turn linked to the remote control unit.
Video is still captured and recorded via an optional nose-mounted gimbal-stabilized 4K/30fps camera. It's also transmitted to one of two case-integrated screens, at a resolution of 1080p.
The SkyProwler 2 can be ordered now via the source link below, and is priced at US$2,999. It should be available as of Jan. 31st, and can be seen in action in the following video.
Krossblade is also working on a similar but much larger passenger-carrying aerial vehicle, known as the SkyCruiser.