A rival to battery-powered electric drones is the Flowcopter, which, powered by a Danfoss-developed hydraulic pump, the Digital Displacement Pump, will be able to carry its cargo over much greater distances than conventional drones, or so the vehicle’s manufacturer promises. The device is expected to be capable of up to 6 hours of continuous flight/900 kilometres, which could solve one of the problems of operating drones – their relatively short range, which can make inter-city air taxiing or delivery, for example, difficult. While the stability of the hydraulic drone is not yet on a par with electric versions, Flowcopter says it is more robust, cheaper and lighter than pure electric propulsion, meaning it has greater propulsion power and “extreme efficiency” for its weight.
The Flowcopter runs on liquid fuel and its Digital Displacement pump is powered by four motors, each with 129 horsepower. The drone is initially intended for short-haul transport, but is not yet suitable for passenger transport due to its size, with a maximum payload of 150 kilograms.