A tethered Hercules from Drone Volt

By Paolo Valpolini

At Milipol 2019 Drone Volt, the French UAS manufacturer based in Villepinte, unveiled the last of its rotary wing systems, known as Hercules 10 UF. The drone has four spikes which at their extremities are fitted with electric motors and two two-blades, counter-rotating rotors. The motors are of the T-Motor U8 Lite type each with a 150 KV power, while rotors have a 558 mm diameter, The Hercules 10 UF is linked to a 4,000 W power station providing power to the motors, although the air vehicle has two on-board batteries for safety reasons and to allow quick transformation of the UAS from the tethered to the untethered configuration. When linked to its power supply module its flight time is obviously unlimited. A smart winch ensures that no tension is applied on the 100 metres long cable while the air vehicle is in flight. The maximum vertical speed is 5 m/s while maximum ground speed is 25 m/s, 90 km/h, allowing the Hercules 10 UF to fly over a vehicle moving at 50-60 km/h. When flying at speed the positioning accuracy is of 2.5 meters horizontal and 2.5 meters in height, while stationary this is reduced to 25 mm, without using RTK (Real-Time Kinematic) accuracy improving technique. The air vehicle can be fitted with any of existing satellite positioning systems and is RTK ready. Hovering accuracy is 0.5 meters vertical an 1.5 meters horizontal. The Hercules 10 UF can fly in moderate rain and can sustain 14 m/s wind speed. The drone can carry a Pensar camera system, which includes a high resolution day camera with a x30 zoom, a thermal camera and an Nvidia Jetson TX2 GPU AI computing device, or a Merio gyro-stabilised camera, other camera systems being also compatible. The maximum take-off weight is 15 kg, 7-8 of which are represented by the payload.

When operational the Hercules 10 UF footprint is 900 x 900 mm (diagonal dimension being 1,080 mm), height being 580 mm with the landing gear; when this is removed and arms are disassembled the system dimensions are 380 x 380 x 230 mm.

According to Drone Volt the interest for tethered systems is increasing, hence the company decision to launch such a system on the market during Milipol.

Photo by Paolo Valpolini