After nine months of intensive testing, CycloTech were able to give those attending last week’s DroneX Trade Show & Conference the chance to watch a video of the first free-flight of its technology demonstrator.

The video was showcased at the event, which was held at London’s ExCeL from October 5th-6th, and included a keynote from CycloTech’s CEO, Hans-Georg Kinsky. The company’s technology is focused on its CycloRotor propulsion system, which combines the advantages of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) with those of efficient forward flight without being dependent on wings.

Kinsky said: “This is the moment we have been waiting for a long time. Thereby we have proven this technology is usable as a VTOL-drive. With this free-flight, we have succeeded in taking an important step towards commercializing this technology. We have proven the capability of this propulsion system.”

Located in Austria, CycloTech are now able to use their demonstrator as a technology platform for showing further capabilities and expansion stages and has said about €10 million will be invested by a private investor within the next month.

Part of the varied capabilities of this propulsion technology are air taxis and long-distance drones and Kinsky added: “Our rotor is one of the most exciting projects in aviation and has the potential to revolutionise the propulsion technology for vertical take-off and landing.”

Talks with drone manufacturers about strategic partnerships are already in process and at the moment, CycloTech is working with an international logistics group and carrying out system investigations which aim to use the rotor technology for cargo drones.

Among the tested configurations, some rely solely on the Cyclogyro rotors for providing lift and thrust, while others use combinations with propeller systems and fixed wings. These will be presented to the public in a short time.

The company is also working on a way to make its rotor technology applicable as an auxiliary system for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Optimisations of the drivetrain components and endurance are planned for 2022, with the propulsion system ideally used first in this sector before moving to the growing urban air mobility market.

Based on the simulated results, Kinsky assumes it will be possible to ‘increase the performance by 20 per cent and reduce the weight by 20 per cent until 2022.’

He said: “The climate protection debate is absolutely pushing in our direction because aviation has to become emission-free too. The required reductions of noise, CO2 and NOX emission cannot be reached with conventional technologies and concepts.

“Not even one of the booming air taxi projects is designed without an electrical drive. For drones, the situation is similar – this is playing in our hands. We are focussing just on the civil use of drones and there is a big demand in logistics, surveillance, and inspection of power lines, coming from the industry. What’s limiting us is the lack of regulations.”

Because of their topology and structure, Cyclogyro rotors are perfectly suitable for being used as a purely electrical drive variant. The company assumes that only emission-free drones and air taxis will be allowed in urban areas and is therefore aligning their whole system architecture with that.