Update: RotorX demonstrates Palledrone heavy-lift UAV at US Army AEWE
by Pat Host 19 APRIL 2021，JANES
RotorX has developed a fully autonomous heavy-lift unmanned hexacopter called the Palledrone that participated in the last two US Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments (AEWEs).
The Palledrone is a 3.2 m diameter autonomous resupply aircraft in the prototyping stages that is designed to carry up to 45 kg of cargo 8 km, and loads under 4.5 kg as far as 34 km. The aircraft can lift a payload of 36 kg for five minutes, and can fly with a full 45 kg payload for five minutes.
Jeremy Epps, RotorX co-founder, told Janes on 6 April that the company is looking to increase the Palledrone’s payload capacity to 68 kg. RotorX, he said, has tested the Palledrone carrying about 48 kg.
RotorX’s Palledrone autonomous heavy-lift unmanned hexacopter. The company is looking to increase the aircraft’s payload capacity to 68 kg. It has tested the Palledrone carrying about 48 kg. (RotorX)
RotorX designed the Palledrone for set-up within seven minutes. The Palledrone’s motors are designed to snap into place while the aircraft has foldable and retractable landing gear. After assembly, a user would only have to programme the aircraft’s flight path to be flying the Palledrone within seven minutes.
The Palledrone’s six-rotor design provides redundancy in case of motor failure as Epps said the aircraft can fly with four motors. This was tested at AEWE 2021, which took place from 5 February to 5 March at Fort Benning in Georgia. Dmitry Bershadsky, RotorX lead engineer and CEO, told Janes on 6 April that the aircraft lost an arm during the event and that the RotorX team did not have enough spares to replace it.