Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Nope, it’s a drone that flies like a bird, and it has been developed in stealth by Islandic drone startup Flygildi. The UAV has been created with military action in mind but will also be available on the civilian market. With wings replacing the rotators, the patent-protected design that can be designed to mimic a wide range of avian species is called Silent Flyer, so we can only imagine these birdlike drones are indeed silent. They can carry surveillance equipment and small payloads.
Moving on from the initial intended military surveillance use, the drone potentially has a wide range of use cases, giving a bird's eye view on issues from crime monitoring like poaching, drug trafficking and environmental crimes, to fishing vessel surveillance, marine pollution, and illegal dumping.
Not flying solo, Flygildi has partnered with Purdue University and fellow Icelandic startup Nanom, a greentech innovating energy alternatives. The university is involved in the testing of the prototype and Nanom is working with the drone company to turn the UVA into its own battery pack. They are ‘exploring the integration of Nano-enhanced Structural Energy Storage from Nanom, which turns the carbon fiber body parts of the Silent Flyer into a supplementary battery - the wing armature can now actually store energy without the need for additional Lithium-Ion batteries’.
The Reykjavik-based startup has raised $2.2 million in Seed funding from a host of Icelandic angel investors, VC funds and government grants. It is taking its first flight out of stealth at DroneX Expo in London this week.
“Flygildi is very excited to at last publicly showcase the years of design and iterative development that have gone into our prototype - we are looking forward to hearing from our peers in the UAV industry segment about their opinions concerning the unique design and capabilities of the Silent Flyer,” says Björg Ormslev Ásgeirsdóttir CEO of Flygildi ehf. “We are hoping to gain both partners and feedback as we finalise the design of Silent Flyer and take it into manufacturing for a range of civilian and military applications where only our solution is uniquely applicable.”
Lead image: via Flygildi. Photo: Uncredited.