This ‘silent’ ion-powered drone takes the next step

The ion-powered Silent Ventus drone from Undefined Technologies has just completed its third test flight. The manufacturer was able to increase the flight time of the prototype while reducing the noise generated by this “silent” technology.

Drone delivery faces a major hurdle: troubletrouble sound. Most models are quadcopters that make a lot of noise, which can quickly become a problem in quiet residential areas. This is the main reason why Undefined Technologies is working on dronedrone “Silent” cargo ship with an ion engine.

The manufacturer has just released a video of its third test flight. Technology advertised as silent is still a long way off. However, the Silent Ventus now produces noise below 75. decibelsdecibels, versus 90 decibels during its first flight and 85 decibels during its second. It should be noted that the manufacturer does not indicate at what distance the sound level was measured, which makes any comparison with quadrocopters difficult … A new record is also set durationdurationwith a flight of four and a half minutes, against two and a half minutes earlier.

Third test flight of the ion-powered Silent Ventus drone. © Uncertain Technologies

Appearance is very different from quadrocopters

Instead of rotors, the Silent Ventus has grilles made ofelectrodeselectrodeswho create electric fieldselectric fields. This process ionizes the molecules in the air, creating enough thrust to launch the aircraft. In May last year, the manufacturer presented a render of what the final version of the drone should look like, but so far the prototype looks more like a dish dryer…

Undefined Technologies attributes this new performance to ” advances in battery chemistry that can provide higher energy densities “, but without providing technical details. By the end of next year, the firm intends to reduce the sound level of its prototype below 70 decibels with a flight time of 15 minutes. It plans to launch its drone on the market in 2024..

Here is an ion powered drone

The Silent Ventus is a silent prototype ion-powered drone. This motorization process without mechanical parts has been used for a long time for some spacecraft, but remains very experimental for others. airplaneairplane like planes or drones. If he manages to take off vertically, then at the moment he is still far from the noise level.

Article nephew Louisnephew Louispublished on 05.07.2022

After MIT’s Ion Drive, an electro-aerodynamically powered aircraft, there’s a vertical take-off version of the drone. Created by Undefined Technologies, based in Florida, USA, and currently dubbed the Silent Ventus, the drone looks like a kind of flying stand. But the company has just unveiled its future design, namely the body placed on this structure.

This flying pallet is equipped with two large stacked arrays of electrodes with high voltagehigh voltage. They are in opposition, soairair ionize and accelerate downward to create thrust. Unlike an airplane, it requires much more thrust, and therefore moreenergyenergyto make this drone take off and keep it in the air. He has already made two test flights. The first lasted 25 seconds, and during the second the plane was in the air for more than two and a half minutes.

During this experimental flight, the shrill whistle of the electroaerodynamic propulsion system is heard. © Uncertain Technologies

Lots of noise for a quiet drone

In both cases, the drone performed its flights indoors, that is, without wind. The company also advertises its technology called Air Tantrum. According to the company, the technology will make the device extremely quiet, hence the name Silent Ventus. The ion engine does not make noise, not because there is no engine, but not at all. During its first flight, the drone emitted a high-pitched whistle at around 90 decibels.

Undefined Technologies intends to cut volumevolume sound at 70 decibels. In the end, a level that remains about the same as that of a semi-professional quadcopter. However, for now, despite its hefty size, this drone is extremely light, and it’s still hard to tell if it will ever be able to carry a payload to compete with multi-rotor drones.