Whisper Aero aims to eliminate one of the most disturbing features of drones, the noise of electric propulsion. Whisper Aero is a company specialising in building specifically quiet unmanned vehicles, with the aim of creating quiet drones that will be tolerable to city dwellers even if larger devices will be more numerous in the airspace after the advent of air taxis. The company’s founder, former NASA engineer Mark Moore, revealed Whisper Aero’s plans to the public this summer, saying that the future of drones could be hindered if they are too loud and annoy or scare people.
The company is therefore testing a new type of propulsion system based on a different arrangement of propellers, motors and control system and, although the developers did not reveal much about the technology at first, Aerospace American reports that investors who have heard the Whisper whisper live have been pleased with the results, with some comparing the sound to the rumble of a ceiling fan. And it’s not just air taxi operators that are interested in quiet solutions, the Air Force is also backing the development with a $1.5 million grant.
The first animations of the extra-quiet drone for the Pentagon were shown this week – although the finished Whisper Drone itself has not yet been shown on video, Moore says the drone has already been tested in the air and is being tested regularly. The vehicle is intended for surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering, meaning it could become a kind of spy drone, aided by its quiet operation. Two versions will be produced, the smaller for surveillance activities and the larger for military and commercial transport. And the Whisper Jet, the company’s electric aircraft, will be based on the Whisper Drone technology, and the propulsion system could be used in high-speed eVTOLs in Air Force aircraft.
Other companies are also working to reduce the noise of future air taxis, including Joby Aviation, whose CEO, JoeBen Bevirt, said Joby was founded with the idea of bringing really quiet aircraft to market. In addition to the proper layout of the propellers, this was achieved by maximising the torque of the electric motors, which allows the propellers to maintain their performance at low speeds. The company’s planes fly with a noise level of around 50 decibels and a maximum take-off noise of 65-70 decibels, which is just right for an average busy city.