A prototype drone which takes off and lands vertically like a helicopter, and can reach speeds of 250 kilometres per hour, has been unveiled. Sharon Reich reports.
It flies at speeds of up to 310 miles per hour and flying time lasts five hours, making this the fastest drone of its kind. Developed by researchers at Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), the new tiltrotor TR-60 generates lift and propulsion by powered rotors. The new model is a smaller version of the world's fastest tiltrotor drone, the TR-100. The team say they expanded on the existing model, to meet the rise in demand for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (KARI), JOO GENE, SAYING: "After analysing public, industrial and military demands that range from fish detection to reconnaissance, we came to the conclusion that the most popular size would be 60 percent of the existing model, as large drones are difficult to use. Hence, we decided to commercialise the TR-60." The prototype is able to operate in wide areas at high speeds, even in areas without sufficient runway spaces. Ultimately, the team say the TR-60 could one day be used for surveillance, reconnaissance and even search and rescue operations. (SOUNDBITE) (Korean) EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT KOREA AEROSPACE RESEARCH INSTITUTE (KARI), JOO GENE, SAYING: "The size of the TR-60 is best suited for industrial, public and military purposes. It cannot only take-off and land vertically, but it also flies at high speeds. We expect it to enter the world market and perform missions in many countries." Scientists have high hopes for the TR-60, It is expected to be in mass production by 2020, and by 2023, may even have autonomous flying and carrier landing capabilities.