A group of entrepreneurial UK engineers has plans to build a mid-mass logistics drone for global markets. The system will be aimed initially at remote and isolated communities, but is planned to be fully capable of near urban operations in due course.
The UAV system, called Sky Hopper®, is an electrically powered tri fan design to be constructed at Prestwick in the West of Scotland. Its avionics are being developed in Hampshire in South Central England. Cargo mass load is 100 kilograms.
“Civil UAV development is still in early days,” says project leader Eben Wilson. “We want to engineer a pathway to a commercial future; and we have the strong team to work through the certification requirements alongside the technical issues. It’s a challenge, but it really is time we did this.”
The Sky Hopper project commercial plan includes unmanned delivery networks that set up local communities as franchisees for aero-parks; locally owned assets through which multiple Sky Hopper missions are flown, creating revenue for local communities.
The end-to-end innovation for the project extends to its funding methods. So far, early prototyping has been privately funded; the founders have invested their own money along with some initial sponsorship funding. A sequenced campaign of further donations, crowd funding via Indiegogo and a follow up Enterprise Investment Scheme is underway.