Fixed-wing drone capable of vertical takeoff unveiled at China High-Tech Fair
The new fixed-wing drone being demonstrated in open air. /CMG
The new fixed-wing drone being demonstrated in open air. /CMG

The new fixed-wing drone being demonstrated in open air. /CMG

A domestically made drone with two sets of wings and vertical takeoff and landing capabilities was unveiled at the 25th China Hi-Tech Fair in south China's Shenzhen on Sunday.

The new drone, the first of its kind in the world, is independently designed and manufactured by the Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It features two sets of fixed wings and multiple rotor wings. 

The research team from the Changchun Institute mastered all the core technologies for the drone, from the drive system and multi-sensor information fusion to the flight control system and algorithms. They achieved normal takeoff and landing of the drone under an extremely low temperature of minus 40 degrees Celsius, an altitude of 5,500 meters and in strong winds up to force 7, thus breaking several performance limits for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). 

"With two sets of wings, the drone can achieve perfect vertical takeoff and landing without the need of taxiing or a runway, which has greatly enhanced the convenience in using the aircraft," said Liao Dongpo, an employee from the Changchun Institute, while introducing the drone at the fair. "Compared with that of a conventional fixed-wing UAV, the size of the new drone has been reduced by four to five times." 

The drone is powered by lithium batteries. Its rotor wings provide an upward lift force when it takes off vertically and a horizontal thrust when it flies. The high energy efficiency has enabled the drone to have a good load capacity and a long battery life. 

"The combined weight of the large drone and its load can reach 50 kilograms. Its carrying capability is about 17 to 18 kilograms and its flight endurance is about four hours," said Liao. 

The UAV will have a wide application in keeping power facilities and oil and gas pipelines safe as well as in forestry, emergency rescue, surveying and mapping, and other areas.

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