Propulsion company Sentient Blue and UAS manufacturer blueflite announced Monday that they have signed a MoU to develop cutting edge cargo UAS with improved capabilities when compared to what is possible with UAVs using lithium polymer battery power.
Sentient Blue is a propulsion developer that has a patent pending hybrid microturbine power system technology. The propulsion technology is planned to combine with blueflite’s advanced tiltrotor VTOL platform. Together, they create unique drone performance characteristics to provide an efficient platform for use in the logistics industry. The companies are developing a UAS powered by a hybrid microturbine that simultaneously reduces time for delivery and operating costs while maximizing system availability and enhancing reliability. Sentient Blue’s value proposition maintains that their hybrid technology enables increased range and endurance and allows for a wider operating envelope leveraging off the chemistry of hydrocarbon and biofuel energy sources, which are 45 to 48 times more energy dense than batteries. Possible applications range from delivery of industrial spares to disaster recovery support missions. The companies are looking forward to joining forces and changing the future of logistics.
Why it’s important: The Sentient Blue hybrid propulsion system is a fresh approach to hybrid power for UAS systems, and potential aerial mobility aircraft, which traditionally focus on either all-electric offerings or larger sized turbines integrated in hybrid systems. This approach will utilize a smaller turbine that may allow for greater compatibility across multiple aircraft designs. The collaboration with blueflite means that the system will have the opportunity to prove itself in logistical applications that are more prone to early approval and adoption than operations in a manned or passenger carrying operation would be. Additionally, the logistics sector of last-mile transport is more rapidly growing due to lesser certification requirements and human psychological barriers than the fare-paying transport portion of the advanced mobility market.