The average consumer drone today has a flight time of between 10 and 20 minutes. The record-breaking HYBRiX 2.1 quadcopter made by Spanish startup Quaternium is barely even getting warmed up by that point. Need proof? Quaternium’s innovative quadcopter this month achieved a new drone flight endurance record — by staying airborne for a massive 10 hours, 14 minutes. Now that’s just showing off!
“HYBRiX is an innovation, inspired by hybrid cars, that combines the best of both technologies,” a spokesperson for Quaternium told Digital Trends, referring to the drone’s clever gasoline and battery-electric hybrid power system. “[This makes it] possible to carry a very small engine while multiplying the flight time by over 1000%, introducing redundancy on the power system. If the engine stops for any reason, the aircraft can still land on electric-only mode.”
Usually, the previous record-holder for a feat like this would be a little sad at being beaten. That’s not the case here, however — since Quaternium itself was the previous champion. And the one before that. Back in December 2017, Quaternium’s hybrid drone achieved a whopping (but not quite so whopping) 4 hours and 40 minutes of flying time in one go. At the time, Alicia Fuentes, CEO of Quaternium, commented to Digital Trends on the chances of beating that record. “This is just the beginning,” she said. “The potential of hybrid technology for drones is huge.”
Since then, that confidence has paid dividends. Quaternium later beat the 4 hours, 40 minutes record with an 8 hours, 10 minutes record. Now that record has also been smashed. In the latest successful record-breaking attempt, the HYBRiX 2.1 drone was augmented by a 16-liter fuel tank and miniature fuel-injection system. While Quaternium isn’t the only maker of drones that showcase impressive flight times, the resulting setup has clearly been enough to snatch another championship victory.
So will we be writing about the next-gen hybrid drone made by the company in, perhaps, another three years’ time? “Of course, beating this record would be really challenging,” the company spokesperson said. “But Quaternium’s engineering team works daily to enhance the aircraft performance, and we are sure that partnering with [the] Löweheiser EFI startup [which helped develop some of the hardware] is a great improvement for HYBRiX. Its reliability has increased a lot thanks to this integration.”
We’ll take that as a quietly confident “you bet!”