Drones

Vertex hybrid drone combines hovering and fixed-wing flight

Vertex hybrid drone combines h...
The Vertex can hover like a quadcopter, or fly fast like a fixed-wing aircraft
The Vertex can hover like a quadcopter, or fly fast like a fixed-wing aircraft
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The Vertex can hover like a quadcopter, or fly fast like a fixed-wing aircraft
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The Vertex can hover like a quadcopter, or fly fast like a fixed-wing aircraft
The canard-style Vertex features four independently-tilting motors/propellers, steerable landing gear, and wings that can be removed when using it purely in quadcopter mode
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The canard-style Vertex features four independently-tilting motors/propellers, steerable landing gear, and wings that can be removed when using it purely in quadcopter mode
The Vertex's different flight modes
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The Vertex's different flight modes

As consumer drones are becoming increasingly common, we seem to be seeing more of a certain "value-added" feature – quadcopters that are able to hover as needed, but which can also transition to faster and more efficient fixed-wing flight. Recent examples have included the Skyprowler and the X PlusOne. Now, there's also the Vertex.

The canard-style aircraft features four independently-tilting motors/propellers, steerable wheeled landing gear, and wings that can be removed when using it purely in quadcopter mode – they can also be swapped with longer wings for even more efficient fixed-wing flight.

Users transition between the two flight modes using a switch on the radio remote control, which causes the props to rotate from a vertical to horizontal orientation. According to its designers, the Vertex is capable of flight at any stage within that transition – so in other words, it won't fall out of the sky if you don't switch it over fast enough.

A user-supplied GoPro camera can be mounted on an optional 2-axis gimbal for capturing aerial footage. Although the drone is currently entirely manually-controlled, a semi-autonomous flight system is in the works.

The canard-style Vertex features four independently-tilting motors/propellers, steerable landing gear, and wings that can be removed when using it purely in quadcopter mode
The canard-style Vertex features four independently-tilting motors/propellers, steerable landing gear, and wings that can be removed when using it purely in quadcopter mode

Power is provided by a swappable 5,300-mAh lithium-polymer battery, one charge of which should be good for about 15 minutes of hovering or 35 minutes of fixed-wing flight. The latter can be increased if the longer wings are used.

ComQuest Ventures, which is producing the Vertex, is currently raising production funds on Kickstarter. A ready-to-fly package, complete with remote (US only), can be had for a pledge of US$1,155 – assuming the campaign is successful.

The drone can be seen in flight, in the video below.

Sources: ComQuest Ventures, Kickstarter

5 comments
Mzungu_Mkubwa
Not a new idea (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOJ8TWYUedA) but a good one. As I've commented here before, combine this quad-tiltrotor configuration with the newly developed Siemens lightweight aviation electric motors (search Gizmag for the recent article) and a central generator, such as a Capstone micro-turbine, and this might just scale up to being able to carry a person. Not a "jetpack-of-the-future", but it could be the next best thing, right?
mach37
Considering the current legal limitations on radio range and line of sight requirement for the "pilot," high speed hardly seems necessary, or even desirable, for civil operators of quadrotors, or any R/C model aircraft.
S Michael
Always good to see young people be innovative. The design and motor configuration looks very well thought out. I wonder what this would do scaled up to full size. Good work guys...
Douglas Bennett Rogers
This ought to be able to get into sailplane configuration, find a thermal, and stay up!
unklmurray
I don't understand.......they want us to give them over $1000.00 For a toy that will only stay in the air for 15 minutes........I can think of a lot nicer ways of wasting my money......How bout donating it to the Childrens Hospital!!