Researchers at the National University of Singapore say they have developed U-Lion, a novel hybrid unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that can take off and land vertically in the manner of a helicopter, while cruising horizontally like a normal airplane.
Developed over a period of four years, U-Lion is equipped with wings that can be fully retracted or expanded, to best support stability in the various flight modes. In addition, U-Lion can fly autonomously, including vertical take-off and landing, cruise flight, and transitions.
The researchers achieved optimal performance in both flying modes by designing U-Lion in tail-sitter configurations with reconfigurable wings and vectoring thrust. They say U-Lion can adopt different flying modes based on mission requirements, and will adjust the wings to achieve optimal performance. This ability enables U-Lion to fly much longer than traditional UAVs and to possess greater maneuverability compared to fixed-wing models.
From ECN Magazine
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