GE Aviation is teaming with the Hybrid Project to provide a commercial, high-endurance vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) UAV. Flight testing will begin later this year. Under the agreement, Hybrid’s 35-pound hybrid-electric SuperVolo VTOL UAV will be equipped with a full-stack airborne computing hardware platform, flight and safety management, and integration from GE Aviation and Auterion.
SuperVolo will include GE’s computing platform and Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 operating system that resides on the vehicle, in the cloud, and the ground station. This integration is the result of an agreement announced earlier this year between GE Aviation and Auterion to provide all-in-one hardware and software platform for commercial drones.
“The combination of Hybrid Project’s SuperVolo airframe, GE Aviation’s computing platform, and Auterion’s software stack enables an all-in-one solution that readily scales for commercial applications,” said GE Aviation product leader of avionics systems Matt Vacanti. “A highly integrated system is critical to achieving scalable commercial UAV operations.”
Auterion’s Enterprise PX4 software is built on top of open software standards that are supported by a global developer community. The software also provides the infrastructure enabling online workflows, compliance monitoring, and enterprise fleet management. It allows the SuperVolo to fly “farther, safer, and more efficiently,” said Auterion co-founder Kevin Sartori.
The SuperVolo is equipped with a gas/electric powerplant that provides onboard battery charging. The aircraft has an endurance of up to six hours, 45 to 65 mph cruise speed, 107-inch wingspan, useful load of up to 10 pounds, and one-gallon fuel capacity.