A Reconfigurable Drone: Morph Between Fixed-Wing and Multi-Rotor

Figure 1. Reconfigurable drone with fold-able wings.  The drone has four vertical rotors to be a quadcopter when the wings are folded.  It also has a horizontal propeller placed in the front to enable horizontal flight when the wings are unfolded.  The polyester fabric that will be placed on the scissor mechanism is not shown for clarity.

Opportunity

Available for Licensing

Potential to Form Startup

Inventor

Jianguo Zhao

At A Glance
  • The invention is a reconfigurable drone that can switch between having a multi-rotor and fixed wing
  • Problems solved are the ability to have high agility as well as the ability to access narrow spaces
  • The drone market has military, consumer and commercial/civil applications

 

Licensing Director

Mandana Ashouri
Mandana.Ashouri@colostate.edu
970-491-7100

Reference No.: 19-018

Background

In a 2016 report, Goldman Sachs estimated that drone technologies will reach a total market size of $100 billion between 2016 and 2020 including military, consumer, and commercial/civil applications. According to PwC, a global consulting company, among all the applications, infrastructure inspection and mapping represent the greatest opportunity, with an addressable market of 45.2 billion in 2015. Overall, there are many different applications for drones that span many different areas.

 

Technology Overview

The invention is a novel reconfigurable drone that can morph between a multi-rotor and fixed wing. Such a drone will initially be a quadcopter with wings folded into the body. With folded wings, it can fly as a quadcopter, which has: 1) high agility to take off vertically or hover in space; 2) compact size to access narrow spaces. The drone can change to a fixed-wing configuration by unfolding the two wings to enable energy-efficient forward flight for long duration tasks. The drone can also transform back to a quadcopter by folding the wings back into the body.

Benefits
  • Reconfigurable 
  • Fixed-wing and multi rotor
  • Excellent maneuverability and portability
  • Easy to use
  • Vertical take‑off and precise landing with access to narrow spaces

Last updated on October 7, 2019.