Sci & Tech

Iranians Build Automatic VTOL Drone

Iranians Build  Automatic VTOL DroneIranians Build  Automatic VTOL Drone

Iranian inventors at Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology have designed and built a vertical takeoff and landing drone capable of flying automatically in different environments even out of the pilot’s sight.

Hodhod (English: Hoopoe bird) 3 Drone, which was displayed at a Tehran tertiary sector technology exhibition this week, is capable of flying 53 minutes and carry a small load—think Amazon drones.

For the uninitiated, VTOL is a fixed-wing aircraft outfitted with propellers that can take off and hover like a copter, but can also shift into a plane’s forward flight mode. As hybrids, VTOLs have unique advantages over planes and copters alone, Mehr News Agency reported.

It’s hard to find big fields to launch and land a plane, and in many parts of the world, such as rainforests, cities or islands, it’s especially difficult. On the other side, multicopters can only fly for a short time.

“The vertical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, which uses combined fuel and has a large propeller and two side rotors, can fly vertically for 53 minutes,” Iranian engineer Mostafa Hassanpanah said.

The UAV is equipped with an optical tracking device, which can take pictures with a resolution of 16 megapixels and shoot videos in full HD, according to the developer. At the same time, the image quality will not deteriorate in low light conditions.

Hassanpanah added that the drone, which is currently undergoing short-distance flight tests, is ideally suited for military missions and uses a fuel cell and a hydrogen generator system as its power source, which means the battery pack remains light.

“The device can fly in bad weather conditions (strong wind, dust), as well as day and night,” he said.

“Hodhod is also equipped with the Dideban-1 small camera that can be installed on a variety of aircraft, including helicopters and UAVs.”

VTOLs have a reputation of being difficult to develop and manage. But can also be used for simultaneously sending information to the command center, returning home in emergency situations, and automatically taking off and landing out of the pilot’s sight using low frequency radar.

The drones are very useful in a terrain like Iran’s, which is prone to natural disasters ranging from earthquakes to landslides in the mountainous areas. The machines could be used also for reconnaissance in such situations.    

In recent years, Iran has made great strides in its defense sector and achieved self-sufficiency in producing essential military equipment and systems, including UAVs, a form of transport that is becoming more common in many militaries around the world as they rely more on unmanned vehicles to do certain procedures.

  History of VTOLs

In 2013, an Iranian inventor designed and built a VTOL drone using combined fuel, which he said was highly functional for military operations. Since then, the military has taken an increased interest in the technology in active and passive missions.

Mahnad-41 drone, which was designed and manufactured by Iranian technicians of Khallaqiyat Kavir Company, was displayed in Isfahan during a ceremony.

Drones are becoming increasingly popular around the world and Iran is no exception. The unmanned flying devices can be seen in many places across the country, with the private sector using them in outdoor wedding ceremonies as well as promotional videos.

Iranian defense researchers built the country’s first homemade VTOL drone in March, which may be used in current ongoing operations both inside the country and abroad.