On 23 May 2017, the TU Delft spin-off Atmos UAV presented Marlyn, a hybrid drone that combines the flexibility of a helicopter with the speed and range of a fixed-wing aircraft. This device can rapidly map large areas of ground for companies working in such fields as fields construction, mining, agriculture and forestry.
Marlyn flies using wings as well as propellers. This allows it to ascend vertically, meaning that it can land at (and take off from) inaccessible locations. When flying horizontally, the aircraft can reach high speeds, enabling project locations to be surveyed up to ten times faster. Marlyn has a range of approximately 60 km. The hybrid technology also allows the aircraft to fly in strong winds.
Atmos UAV developed out of a Bachelor’s degree programme project within the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering The assignment involved designing an Unmanned Aerial System that was capable of competing in the UAVForge Challenge. This international competition features strict design requirements, such as that the aircraft should be able to ascend vertically, cover a certain distance and complete on-location observations, all within a limited time frame. The team researched unmanned helicopters and planes, ultimately settling on a combination of the two that allowed them to benefit from the advantages inherent in both types of aircraft.