Yes, you read that right – a drone started the flight at 8:20 A.M. and landed at 6:34 P.M. That’s a difference of 10 hours and 14 minutes! The feat was achieved by a drone named HYBRiX 2.1, a prototype manufactured by Quaternium, a Spanish startup. An EFI company Löweheiser also had a significant contribution to the hardware. They primarily worked on the fuel-injection and propulsion systems.
This didn’t aggravate the previous record holders either. Why you might ask? Well, because Quaternium held the previous two world records too. The first was accomplished in December 2017, and the flight lasted for 4 hours and 40 minutes. The second was achieved in late February 2020 and was officially 8 hours and 10 minutes. Compared to the current one, this turns out to be a flight time increase of about 20%.
This is even more impressive when people are reminded about consumer drones. They cost thousands of dollars but can only stay in the air for 10 to 20 minutes! How did they do it? HYBRiX is inspired by hybrid cars that use a mix of fuel and electric batteries. It manages to stay airborne for so long using the best of both technologies. The drone started the flight with 16 liters of fuel in the tank and a small engine on-board. It utilized its battery system to introduce redundancy and multiply flight time by over 1000%.
Best of all, if the engine stops for any reason or runs out of fuel, the aircraft can land safely using batteries only. That’s not the end either. A spokesperson for the company stated that they plan on beating their own record again. The person added that the team will partner with Löweheiser once again to push the boundaries of flight time.
As the company states, there are multiple intended purposes for the drone. One of those is rescue missions, although the rescue part will still be left to the crew. But, due to its Payload feature, devices such as high-resolution video cameras, thermal image cameras, mobile phone search systems, and even tools and supplies for the people can be attached. Furthermore, the same features prove useful for disinfecting areas during a pandemic and spraying poison or sustenance for agricultural needs. Quaternium also adds that the drone will significantly help firefighters finding sources and making educated decisions that save lives.
If you’d like to see Quaternium HYBRiX in action, play this video: