High-endurance VTOL UAV the aim of GE, Hybrid Project

November 26, 2019  - By
Image: GPS World

GE Aviation and Hybrid Project team to provide commercial high-endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV, with Auterion and GE Aviation providing comprehensive integration of ground, cloud and airborne components

GE Aviation has teamed with Hybrid Project to provide a VTOL UAV designed for high-endurance commercial applications at scale. Flight testing is underway, with commercial availability targeted for the first quarter of 2020.

The agreement enables Hybrid Project’s 35-pound hybrid-powered SuperVolo VTOL UAV with a full stack airborne computing hardware platform, flight and safety management, and integration from GE Aviation and Auterion.

GE Aviation’s computing platform enables flight control and airborne computing power at the edge while maintaining an independent and authoritative safety controller. Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 operating system resides on the vehicle, in the cloud, and the ground station.

The integration is the result of an agreement announced earlier this year between GE Aviation and Auterion to provide all-in-one hardware and software platform for commercial drones.

“The combination of Hybrid Project’s SuperVolo airframe, GE Aviation’s computing platform, and Auterion’s software stack enables an all-in-one solution that readily scales for commercial applications,” said Matt Vacanti, product leader, Avionics Systems for GE Aviation. “A highly integrated system is critical to achieving scalable commercial UAV operations.”

Hybrid Project’s SuperVolo has been designed from the ground up with an emphasis on endurance flight, ease of maintenance, and modularity. The combined system is comprised of technologies and services which have the capability to enable commercial operations in complex environments while meeting regulatory and mission outcomes.

“This collaboration, and the combined solution, will increase commercial operator flexibility, efficiency, and overall performance to a level not previously available in its class,” said Ryan Pope, co-founder of Hybrid Project.

Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 software is built on top of open software standards that are supported by a global developer community. Auterion’s enterprise software also provides the infrastructure enabling online workflows, compliance monitoring, and enterprise fleet management. “With Auterion software, the Hybrid Project SuperVolo flies farther, safer, and more efficiently, unlocking new BVLOS capabilities and missions that were previously not possible before commercial drones of this class were available,” said Kevin Sartori, co-founder of Auterion.

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About the Author: Tracy Cozzens

Senior Editor Tracy Cozzens joined GPS World magazine in 2006. She also is editor of GPS World’s newsletters and the sister website Geospatial Solutions. She has worked in government, for non-profits, and in corporate communications, editing a variety of publications for audiences ranging from federal government contractors to teachers.