We’ve been seeing drones made by this German company pop up in our social feeds recently, so we thought we’d take a closer look. And yes, we do think the Quantum-Systems Trinity F90Plus, along with its other models, are pretty cool. Have a look; perhaps you’ll agree.
We didn’t know much about Quantum-Systems other than watching a few posts and videos go by. So we thought: Let’s find out a little more. We headed over to the company website, downloaded some background material and press kits, and here we are.
Let’s dive in.
First of all, this is not a new company. It was founded in Munich in 2015. But cofounder and CEO Florian Seibel started researching the world of autonomous flight systems in 2008, before many of us even truly had drones on our radar. The company’s drones all share one thing in common, according to the Quantum-Systems brochure:
Our sUAS combine eVTOL (electrical vertical take-off and landing) capabilities with long range utilizing electrical and aerodynamic efficiency. We continuously integrate high precision sensors into our systems for increased aerial data intelligence. Using these methods, we are transforming decision making processes for the professional user in both the commercial and governmental sector.
e-VTOL tri-rotor design
Many of the fixed-wing VTOLs on the market are built with a 4+1 configuration: Four motors are used for vertical lift, then a single motor is used for powered flight. While they certainly work, there’s an issue with this design: The four motors become dead weight (and add additional drag) once the vehicle has transitioned to forward flight.
The Quantum-Systems products all use three motors – two on the wing, and one mounted atop the vertical stabilizer at the rear of the aircraft.
In its two fixed-wing models, all three motors are capable of changing their angle from horizontal (for the lifting and landing) to vertical for forward flight. What’s more, once in forward flight there’s an option of using only the rear motor for propulsion. Yes, there’s still dead weight from the two motors not in use, but that’s half of what you’d have in a 4+1 configuration. Plus, the foldable props seen above minimize drag.
And with the aircraft running in that mode – flight times of up to 90 minutes can be obtained. That means it can cover up to 700 hectares (1,729 acres) in a single flight. Here’s CEO Florian Seibel:
Our passion is the continuous development of industry leading VTOL aircrafts. These easy to operate systems serve a wide range of customers. Our drones provide data for the agricultural, mining, and construction industries, and serve the governmental and security forces. While the full potential and benefits that we can deliver aren’t fully exploited yet by the markets, we will further shape the future of unmanned aviation. Our path is clear: We will be the market leader in eVTOLs.
Let’s see this aircraft in action
Agreed. Here’s a Quantum-Systems video showing how the Trinity F90Plus works in flight:
That part is pretty cool. Quantum has a number of mission-specific payloads available with the sensors embedded and ready to connect in seconds. It’s a smart system.
This screenshot from the Quantum-Systems website shows the wide variety of available mission-specific payloads for the Trinity F90+ – and it’s pretty impressive:
Wait, there’s more!
Quantum-Systems builds two other drones – the Vector UAS and Scorpion. The latter is designed more for military applications and has fixed motors. This one is a pure tricopter (which, in our recollection, has beautiful flight characteristics).
Both the Vector and Scorpion have two options for EO/IR payloads, while the Scorpion can also handle a fairly substantial gimbaled 30X zoom camera.
The company also has a software solution called QBase 3D, which covers mission planning, flight monitoring, and data post-processing. All of the Quantum-Systems UAS operate on the secure, scalable, open-source Auterion Operating System. That means (among other things) you could mix and match a fleet comprising of these and other Open Source drones, using the same controllers.
We’ve seen the Auterion team testing Quantum-Systems UAS recently in the Swiss Alps, and that’s part of what got us intrigued.
The products are certainly in demand; DroneDJ senior editor Bruce Crumley wrote earlier today that the European Investment Bank will be granting $11.8 million in funding to help the company keep pace and scale.
We happen to really like the versatility of fixed-wing VTOLs. When there’s a large area to cover – or you need persistent loitering – these designs are a perfect choice. The Quantum-Systems products appear very well-engineered and perfect for a wide variety of use-case scenarios.
And ohhhh, would we ever like to pilot that Scorpion.
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