What has the long-distance capability of a Predator and can take off and land like a helicopter? Meet Latitude Engineering’s Hybrid Quadcopter. This 25-pound, electric-powered prototype UAV looks like a twin-boom drone but has four multi-rotor blades. Bayani Birkinbine, a design engineer on the project, says that flying it was a challenge. “There are autopilots with fixed-wing control laws, and there are autopilots with helicopter control laws, so we had to go into the firmware and do a lot of custom engineering.” The final product (which the U.S. Navy has expressed interest in!) will be gas powered, with a carbon-fiber body and weighing around 60 pounds. It should be able to fly for 12 to 15 hours while carrying an 8-pound payload, including a 2.3-pound electro-optical infrared camera. Stay tuned!
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