Is There a Real Alternative to Multirotors in the Commercial Drone Market? Probably Not.
With the Singapore University of Technology and Design announcing its development of the experimental Transformable Hovering Rotorcraft (THOR) in July 2017, it is worth considering the landscape of drone airframes in the commercial sector. In a marketplace dominated by relatively cheap multirotor systems, the THOR “monocopter” represents an attempt to revive an archaic airframe design to provide the full spectrum of aerial capabilities. A great deal of attention has been placed on the widening number of commercial sectors that are beginning to leverage drone technology for tasks like data gathering, video monitoring, 3D map creation, inspection, and surveillance. Far less has been paid to the development of the platforms and how the changing demands of small unmanned aerial vehicles (sUAVs) is leading to the increased use of multirotor platforms over alternatives like fixed-wing, single rotor, and hybrids. The recent announcement of a monocopter design from the Singapore University of Technology and Designrepresents an attempt to create alternatives to multirotor systems. This ABI Insight will explain the reason behind the dominance of multirotor systems and why it should be expected to last.
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