The Strategist

NASA unveils specs of latest drone prototype


05/14/2015 - 23:04





NASA unveils specs of latest drone prototype
American space investigation agency NASA has unveiled the latest drone prototype called GL-10.
 
The drone, popularly called as Greased Lightning, is considered one of the best unmanned vehicle (UAV) concept from NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Run on battery, the drone has a 10-foot wingspan, 10 electric motors and weighs 28kg at takeoff. The drone even has a tilt-wing design that allows for vertical takeoff and landing.
 
The drone‚Äôs main pilot noted:  "All four engines on the left wing are given the same command. The four engines on the right wing also work in concert. Then the two on the tail receive the same command."
 
It is tricky to devise a drone that could launch itself in the space. The scientists have circumvented the issues by creating hovering capabilities for the vertical takeoff much akin to the way a helicopter takes off. The drone moves from helicopter-like maneuver to an aeroplane type of movement.
"We were ecstatic. Now we're working on our second goal -- to demonstrate that this concept is four times more aerodynamically efficient in cruise than a helicopter," said Bill Fredericks, one of the aerospace engineers working on the project.
 
This prototype is the 12th iteration and is still in the development phase with the research team designing each model to get to where they are today. The UAV also lacks inflight noise
 
Fredericks also explained the real-life applications for the drone prototype. "We have a couple of options that this concept could be good for. It could be used for small package delivery or vertical takeoff and landing, long endurance surveillance for agriculture, mapping and other applications," he added. The drone could also couple up as a personal air vehicle if it is made into a larger vehicle.
 
The team will continue testing the concept design to ensure aerodynamic efficiency, as well as demonstrating the drone at various NASA events throughout the year.
 
 




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