We’ve seen it all when it comes to nifty drone designs, but even the most jaded among us couldn’t fail to be wowed by Quantum TRON, a German commercial drone able to take off and land vertically like your average quadcopter, but which then converts into an airplane in mid-air. If James Bond picked out a drone, this is probably the one he’d choose.
“One of my big hobbies is flying gliders, which need to have a very high aerodynamic efficiency,” creator Florian Seibel told Digital Trends. “I had also flown helicopters in the military for some years, which of course also possess the ability to take off and land vertically. My idea was to combine these two worlds into one system, and that’s how the Quantum TRON was born.”
The idea of a transforming drone isn’t new: something Seibel fully acknowledges. Google, for instance, has its Project Wing, while NASA has also worked on not-dissimilar concepts. However, what Quantum TRON represents is this technology rolled out into a commercial product. “We’re at a time now when all of the necessary parts have become available and affordable,” he continued. “Because of that, it’s possible to miniaturize the technology necessary to take off like a helicopter and then transition into fixed-wing flight.”
In terms of spec, Quantum TRON boasts a top speed of 80 kilometers an hour, a 160 kilometer range, maximum payload of 5.5 pounds, and between 70-120 minutes of flight time depending on speed. Add in an impressive wingspan of 11.5 feet and you’ve got a pretty sweet drone indeed.
“We’ve produced about twenty pre-series prototypes which we’ve been flying a lot,” Seibel said. “Next we go to Intergeo, which is the largest trade fair in the world for 3D reconstruction and geo-information services. After that, the plan is to enter the market in October with our first orders.”
Offering a wide range of possible use-cases, we have no trouble believing it’s going to find an audience.