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Nasa technologies for the propellerless drone

Aircraft with two electrode wings developed by US company

Technologies developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) based on studies concerning electrostatic and electromagnetic forces have inspired an American start-up company to develop an ion-powered drone called "Silent Ventus". It is a remotely piloted aircraft without propellers, but which flies thanks to two grids of electrodes that exert opposite voltages strong enough to push the air down. 

The prototype, which is being tested, was developed by Undefined Technologies. The Florida-based company has raised 1.8 million euros in investment to date. The drone has an interesting technological system that could inspire future evolution in unmanned aircraft air transport. However, there are a number of hurdles to overcome: first and foremost is the fact that the amount of energy required to operate it is very high. 

In short, it is necessary to be able to make the flight system efficient. In fact, to date the only two flight tests, both successful, have been conducted indoors to avoid energy dissipation. In addition, the drone managed to fly for 25 seconds producing a sound quantified as 90 decibels. Now, the first goal, is to make it quieter.

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AVIONEWS - World Aeronautical Press Agency