Kawasaki begins testing hybrid drone powered by electric motors and ZX-10R engines

Japan-based Kawasaki Heavy Industries announced it has begun testing of a large flying drone equipped with eight electric motors and three Ninja ZX-10R engines. The eventual purpose is to develop a hybrid drone capable of deliver cargo weighing more than 200 kg (441 pounds) for 100 km (62 miles).

The prototype measures 23 feet long, 16.4 feet wide and 6.7 feet in height, making it significantly larger than the multi-rotor drones we typically think of. The eight rotors are powered by electric motors, with the three Ninja engines serve as generators, helping the motors sustain high power output for a longer period of time.

According to Kawasaki, the drone  successfully completed a levitation test held by the company’s motorcycle and aerospace divisions. Kawasaki provided a single image of the drone hovering a few feet off the ground and dangling a large tangle of wires.

Kawasaki envisions the eventual product, described as a “flying light truck”, will fill a gap between small drones and helicopters as a medium-distance cargo transport.

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