by By Greg Nichols, ZDNet
Faster, lighter, and better range. Why microturbines are the future of unmanned flight.
Ever wonder why drones don’t use the turbine engines you see under the wings of commercial airplanes? Soon they will.
There’s a race underway to bring tiny turbine engines to market to satisfy the next frontier in the drone sector: long-range, high-speed UAV that can actually carry a decent amount of cargo.
With a successful test flight of its Monarch 5 microturbine propulsion system, a company called UAV Turbines is claiming to be the first to power a medium-sized drone with a turbine engine.
But UAV Turbines isn’t the only company developing in this space. Kratos Turbine Technologies, for example, is working on small turbojets and turbofans for UAV in the defense sector. Because the technology offers some significant advantages over all-electric propulsion, there’s been interest from various corners of the drone industry, including for cargo delivery and military applications.