Rolls-Royce poised to enter unmanned aerial systems market

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Rolls-Royce has unveiled a concept electric vertical take-off and landing (EVTOL) vehicle at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018.

The design, which could be adapted for personal transport, public transport, logistics and military applications, could take to the skies as soon as the early 2020s.

The Rolls-Royce EVTOL project is part of the company’s strategy to ‘champion electrification’ and realise its ambition to become the world’s leading industrial technology company.

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The initial concept vehicle, which would be capable of carrying four or five passengers, uses gas turbine technology to generate electricity to power six electric propulsors specially designed to have a low noise profile.

In this hybrid-EVTOL configuration, which flies at speeds up to 250mph for approximately 500 miles, would not require re-charging as the battery is charged by the gas turbine and would be able to utilise existing infrastructure such as heliports and airports.

Rob Watson, who heads up Rolls-Royce’s electrical team, said: “Electrification is an exciting and inescapable trend across industrial technology markets and while the move to more electric propulsion will be gradual for us, it will ultimately be a revolution. Building on our existing expertise in electric technologies and aviation, Rolls-Royce is actively exploring a range of possible markets and applications for electric and hybrid electric flight.

“We are well-placed to play a leading role in the emerging world of personal air mobility and will also look to work in collaboration with a range of partners.

“Rolls-Royce has a strong track record as pioneers in aviation. From developing the first turbo-prop and jet engines, to creating the world’s most efficient large civil aero-engine and vertical take-off and landing solutions, we have a very strong pedigree. As the third generation of aviation begins to dawn, it’s time to be pioneers yet again.”

Tags : Droneelectric vertical take-off and landingeVTOLRolls-RoyceUnmannedunmanned technology
Emma Calder

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