Goleta company makes progress with technology to power cargo drones and eventually flying cars
Goleta-based LaunchPoint, whose technology could eventually set the stage one day for flying cars, has announced the success of its extended flight trials for drones using its hybrid GenSet technology.
The trials were done in collaboration with Offshore Aviation, LaunchPoint reported in a news release Tuesday.
Offshore tested its advanced unmanned quadcopter aircraft, the OA-8C (ER) Dragonfly. The craft was fitted with LaunchPoint’s integrated 5.5 kW hybrid-electric HPS055 GenSet.
With LaunchPoint’s flight-extending technology, the Dragonfly’s hover endurance increased to more than 90 minutes in 90-degree Fahrenheit ambient conditions without refueling. LaunchPoint reported that the technology effectively tripled the range of current battery-powered drones on the market.
“In both forward flight and in lower temperatures, endurance is expected to increase,” LaunchPoint said in its news release.
“The weight of the test configuration flown was reported at 62 pounds (28.1 kg) empty with 13 pounds (5.9 kg) of fuel,” according to LaunchPoint. “The total weight at take-off was 75 pounds (34.1 kg).”
LaunchPoint CEO Rob Reali said the trials’ results bring hybrid-electric flight a big step closer to reality. “With the LaunchPoint Genset, flight time is increased over the incumbent all-electric design by three times the duration from 30-minutes to a best-in-class time of 90-minutes with an increased payload. We plan to significantly increase that number soon.”
LaunchPoint has been working on technology to power cargo drones and eventually flying cars.
In November 2020, LaunchPoint launched its HPS400 (40 kW) GenSet concurrently with its first customer shipments to power large cargo drones and to accommodate future flying vehicle missions that require extended ranges of flight and large payloads.
LaunchPoint plans its initial roll-out of GenSets for drone propulsion to be used by the Department of Defense, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Forestry Service and the Department of Homeland Security.
LaunchPoint will promote its technology during the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Exposition, set for Aug. 16-18 in Atlanta.
For more information, go to www.launchpnt.com.