A group of entrepreneurial UK engineers has plans to build a mid-mass logistics drone for global markets. The system will be aimed initially at remote and isolated communities, but is planned to be fully capable of near urban operations in due course.

The Sky Hopper team brings together aeronautical engineers, certification and design specialists, electric machine designers, and advanced battery developers. Its promotors stress that the project will follow a carefully managed step-by-step approach. “Taking a step upwards to an industrial vehicle demands that we innovate across all our disciplines,” says Dr Richard Brown, the project’s aerodynamicist. “We plan to build a series of demonstrators, resolving structural, power and flight control needs. We have some of the best skills available, and we are a small agile team.”

The UAV system, called Sky Hopper, is an electrically powered tri fan design to be constructed at Prestwick in the West of Scotland. Its avionics are being developed in Hampshire in South Central England. Cargo mass load is 100 kilograms.