Toyota is taking off? Unknown UAVs are tested in the USA


New UAV during ground tests. Photo Jack Beyer


Currently, a large number of various types of experimental aircraft are being tested in the United States, and the other day it became known that there is another unusual experimental UAV. At one of the main research sites, a previously unknown drone of a characteristic type with special capabilities was seen. Official data on him has not yet been published, but the public has already managed to reveal some interesting details.

Undefined object


Few days ago famous aviation Photographer Jack Bayer has published a series of photographs of an unusual aircraft taken at the Mojave Air and Space Port. Due to not the best weather conditions, the pictures are not of high quality, but they allow you to determine the approximate appearance of the captured product and, at least, its class.

Using an tractor vehicle, the aircraft was taken to an open area and carried out some work. Upon completion, the car was towed to the hangar. What research is currently being conducted, and what was the purpose of the filmed exit to the site, is unknown.

Soon, a new photo of the experimental UAV appeared on the Reddit resource. It shows better the main features of the design and individual units. In addition, the registration number is clearly visible - this opens up opportunities for new information. However, the most interesting information is still unknown and it is not possible to determine it from photographs.

Electric union


An experienced UAV has a registration number N871YT. This number is registered with Toyota Motor Engineering & Mfg America. The corresponding certificate was issued on July 29, 2019 and is valid until July 31, 2022. The number is issued to an aircraft with serial number 001, equipped with an electric power plant and having a take-off weight of less than 12500 pounds (5675 kg).


View from a different angle. Photo Jack Beyer

On the keels of the device there is an emblem of one of the promising projects of Toyota - the Project Portal program. Work on it started a few years ago, their goal is to generate developments for the creation of trucks with an electric power plant based on hydrogen fuel cells.

In the context of an unknown UAV, recent news. In mid-January, Toyota announced a collaboration with the US firm Joby Aviation. The latter is one of the leaders in the field of electric vertical take-off devices (eVTOL), and it is planned to create a new model of this kind together with foreign colleagues. Toyota is acting as an investor and also plans to provide some of the necessary technology. At the same time, the main design work falls on Joby.

Two companies plan to create promising equipment such as eVTOL, suitable for commercial use. Such aircraft in the future may become a solution to mobility problems in cities. A real revolution in transportation is expected. However, the development of this direction will be difficult, lengthy and expensive. So, in accordance with the latest agreement, Toyota will invest more than $ 390 million in a joint project. Deadlines for completion are not yet specified.

Basic version


All available data indicate that at the Mojave aerodrome, tests of an experienced UAV jointly developed by Toyota and Joby have begun. Despite the recent signing of a joint work contract on the eVTOL topic, companies have already managed to build and test the first experimental apparatus.


Drone towing. The car allows you to evaluate its size. Photo Jack Beyer

It can be assumed that the platform and the main elements of the power plant were developed by aircraft builders from "Joby". These products were supplemented by a power plant and other components created by Toyota as part of the Portal project. Thus, the exchange of technologies and their joint use has already begun.

Apparently, the real cooperation between the two companies began long before the signing of the formal agreement. That is why only a few weeks have passed from the contract to the tests. At the same time, the project participants have not yet confirmed any of the existing assumptions, and therefore it is not completely clear what exactly is happening. However, much is clear without official confirmation.

Technical features


An experimental UAV of unknown purpose and an unknown name is distinguished by its characteristic design and specific appearance. At its core, it is a multicopter helicopter with an electric power plant. In this form, the device is quite capable of serving as a technology demonstrator and a stand for testing technical solutions.

The UAV glider has an unusual design. It has a low elliptical fuselage and limited length. Front and rear two wings of large elongation and small width are attached to the fuselage. The rear wing span is larger. Between the wings are four longitudinal nacelles of small cross section. Central gondolas form tail beams on which keels are placed.


So far, the only high-quality photo of a besplotnik. Photo Reddit.com

The power plant includes five electric motors of unknown type and power. One is located in the nose of the fuselage, four others are in the side gondolas. Propeller groups are positioned forward and backward for optimal balance.

Four curved landing gears are fixed under the bottom of the fuselage. Some blocks of unknown purpose are suspended between them. With equal probability, we can talk about both a payload simulator and fuel cells from the Project Portal.

Due to the specific role of the UAV does not need particularly sophisticated controls. To pass the tests of the power plant, he needs a remote control system and means of monitoring the operation of the units. All flights can be carried out on command from the ground. However, in the future, new tests with battery life are possible, which will require a different avionics.

The weight of the UAV does not exceed 5,6-5,7 tons. The length of the vehicle can be estimated at 8-9 m, the wing span - about 8-10 m. Energy parameters are unknown. To evaluate them, you need to know the main parameters of the power plant. You may recall that already the early experimental cars with hydrogen fuel cells of the Portal project developed a capacity of 670 hp. However, the UAV and the truck, obviously, differ significantly in the design of the power plant and must show different characteristics.

Unknown perspective


Judging by the design, the nameless UAV is capable of performing vertical take-off and landing, hanging and performing horizontal flight in any direction. Perhaps a large unit is able to lift some payload on an external sling. More is not required of him - the device is an experimental platform for testing and testing new technologies in the energy sector.


Experienced Portal project truck. Toyota Photos

As part of its Project Portal, Toyota has already created and tested hydrogen fuel cells, current converters, control systems and electric motors. Very remarkable results were obtained in the context of road transport. The first trucks with an unusual power plant have already entered service.

In parallel with this, Toyota, in cooperation with Joby Aviation, began adapting existing practices to the requirements of small aircraft. So far we are talking only about an experienced UAV with very limited capabilities, which probably has not even taken off. In the near future, flight tests should begin, and after that, the authors of the project will be able to draw the first conclusions.

At the moment, the main task of the joint project of Toyota and Joby is the general verification of new units and the accumulation of experience. After that, the two companies plan to begin developing light aircraft suitable for commercial use. How successful such cars will be and whether they will be able to find a place in transportation - one can only guess. However, it is obvious that the prospects for this project are directly dependent on current work.
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  1. Vladimir_2U 14 February 2020 06: 02 New
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    Yes, the scheme can be anything, but the energy of the device is much more serious.
    1. Grandfather 14 February 2020 06: 27 New
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      Chota "legs" in UAVs are very crooked belay
      1. Vladimir_2U 14 February 2020 06: 33 New
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        Maybe they are going to use Mi-10 or CH-54, in the article it is mentioned about something like that.
      2. viktor_ui 14 February 2020 06: 34 New
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        these legs spring upon landing and quite gracefully ... if you compare this bent-legged (in your opinion) and our piston Altair ... then who will be worse, guess three times. As for me, krasava and azm sim are a product of international cooperation fellow
        1. Grandfather 14 February 2020 07: 25 New
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          Quote: viktor_ui
          these legs spring upon landing and quite elegantly.

          I’m delaying however ... most likely, they will "carry" something between the legs.
          1. polar fox 14 February 2020 07: 50 New
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            Quote: Dead Day
            I’m delaying however ... most likely, they will "carry" something between the legs.

            such legs are used on sports aircraft such as su-26.
      3. The leader of the Redskins 14 February 2020 08: 54 New
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        And he is a cavalryman!)
      4. Po-tzan 14 February 2020 10: 49 New
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        Quote: Dead Day
        Chota "legs" in UAVs are very crooked


        This is because his stupid Americans did wink
  2. bessmertniy 14 February 2020 06: 38 New
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    If it also sailed, there would have been no price for this drone! wassatI like these fins. and in profile something from a flying fish.
  3. g1washntwn 14 February 2020 06: 44 New
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    JTARV, AirMule, etc. They take civilian commercial drones and test for the army, they take the best from these developments. The Americans and Chinese drones tested, so Toyota is no exception. They have such a program for unmanned supply technologies, they drag buns from all over the world into it. And then they pick out all the raisins and, voila, compote - our great invention. And who didn’t cook stewed fruit? Only someone with no intelligence and / or no money.
  4. Angelo Provolone 14 February 2020 07: 07 New
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    +4
    Official data on him has not yet been published, but the public has already managed to reveal some interesting details.
  5. Free wind 14 February 2020 09: 30 New
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    The picture shows the cleanest American truck, it seems, "Kenward." On the right door you see a window from the bottom, it is made to facilitate parking at the ramp, for unloading, loading with the left-hand drive. Tayota seems to be releasing his trucks. If this unit is powered by electricity, why does it need a hood? Well, in general it’s interesting of course, electric cars are gradually gaining ground.
    1. Gray brother 14 February 2020 11: 33 New
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      Quote: Free Wind
      why does he need a hood?

      Judging by everything, the batteries in the "sleeping bag", logically, the sleeping bag should then be under the hood)))
    2. voyaka uh 14 February 2020 22: 46 New
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      All major manufacturers are switching to electric cars.
      Only most use lithium batteries, and Toyota
      persistently promotes hydrogen elements.
      But anyway, the block thought out by Tesla:
      "inverter-asynchronous motor-one-stage gearbox" will have to
      take and Toyota. It’s so simple that it’s hard to come up with something cheaper
      in production. "Just like a lowing" smile
  6. Undecim 14 February 2020 12: 32 New
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    Such aircraft in the future may become a solution to mobility problems in cities. A real revolution in transportation is expected. However, the development of this direction will complicated, time consuming and expensive.
    Such a direction as unmanned aerial cargo transportation and passenger transportation is not "will be", it already "is" and is developing very quickly. By 2025, the market prospects for commercial unmanned aerial vehicles are estimated at $ 45 billion.
    Moreover, on the "eVTOL topic", as the author calls it, not only firms specializing in drones are intensively working, but also "real" aircraft manufacturing companies.

    This is a Boeing eVTOL. Range of 50 miles, accommodates two people and luggage. This year it is planned to begin trial operation as an "air taxi" in Dallas and Dubai.
    1. Undecim 14 February 2020 12: 40 New
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      A similar project is being promoted by Rolls-Royce, now they are finishing tests of a hybrid electric propulsion system built on the basis of the Allison M250 gas turbine engine. Flight tests are scheduled for 2021.
      1. Undecim 14 February 2020 12: 42 New
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        At the same time, in parallel with their own project, together with Airbus and Siemens, the British are developing the E-Fan X hybrid2, a 2,5 MW hybrid propulsion system based on the AE2100 turbine. Tests of the modified BAe 146 aircraft, where one of its four standard Lycoming ALF502 turbofan engines will be replaced with a test hybrid, will be held this year.
        1. Undecim 14 February 2020 12: 58 New
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          The American Uber, one of the largest companies in the online search and call of taxis, together with NASA implements the UberAIR project. The first eVTOL models are being tested, and they hope to transport the first passenger by 2023 in Dallas and Los Angeles.
          At the same time, Uber complains of serious competition, since similar projects are carried out by at least two dozen companies. The same Airbus has already successfully tested its CityAirbus and also plans to begin commercial transportation in 2023.
    2. Gray brother 14 February 2020 14: 49 New
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      Quote: Undecim
      Such aircraft

      I’m wondering, in case of refusal, who will turn away from residential buildings?
  7. SID
    SID 14 February 2020 13: 25 New
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    It seems 5-6 tons overpriced mass. I think 2-3 tons.
  8. gridasov 14 February 2020 14: 29 New
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    Yes, any competent engineer versed in the energy of hydro-gas-dynamic processes can easily calculate the potential capabilities of such and any aircraft by looking at its drivers. there are no new drivers of development, and the physical limits are already known to all.
    1. Grandfather Eugene 14 February 2020 19: 41 New
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      You pay attention to the fact that the matter is in electric motors, but there is progress. Plus, over the course of 5 years, graphene power sources have been approaching that already now show an increase in capacity by ~ 20 times. The next branch of the development of engines is electric motors.
      1. gridasov 14 February 2020 20: 38 New
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        Bullshit! Although graphene, at least any fantastic power sources do not give any sense. Why? Firstly, because all electric machines in the form of engines and generators do not work on the break-in moments created in induction coils, but linear ones. This creates a problem with the control and inefficient operation of the entire machine. Solenoid induction coils operate on the principle of a pendulum. Ie translational acceleration, deceleration and reverse. And this is very, very not effective. Secondly, the engine is not in contact with the elastic external medium in the form of air, but the mover. Therefore, the screws are also very inefficient. Well, and as for energy storage, then there are a lot of thoughtless processes for the formation of magnetic fluxes, which means you pull it like a holey blanket here coldly at your feet.
        1. Grandfather Eugene 14 February 2020 22: 37 New
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          Screws solve current tasks ma. The control problem is solved by programs and electronics. How did you not please the brushless 4-pole 3-phase motor?
          1. gridasov 14 February 2020 23: 27 New
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            It seems to me that you need to understand how power electronics differs and why electronic control reduces the possibilities of such control processes. Second, the solenoidal windings in the composition of brushless electric motors and with a pulsed current supply therein experience a complex of such magnetic processes when a confrontation arises between where the current is directed and the magnetic flux forms and what forces act during centrifugal rotation. Of course, at relatively low speeds, this may not be noticeable. However, with large rotor radii and high speeds of rotation, destruction is inevitable. It is important to understand that windings must be able to transmit very large currents without the formation of self-induction. Moreover, with a very strong voltage. Therefore, an electric motor with a mover function is an optimal tool for transforming a complex of processes.
            1. Grandfather Eugene 15 February 2020 13: 00 New
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              Yes, a fundamentally different approach is needed here. You will never solve a problem if you think in the same way as those who created it (c)
              1. gridasov 15 February 2020 13: 15 New
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                I agree with you. But I will say more. In the analysis system, it is necessary to include not only all realized ideas, but also all fantastic and more or less justified ones. Only then can we find the best solutions. And those already exist. The new mover in the engine with its thermodynamic cycle is a generalization of all the data of scientists and engineers. We created the ideal mover with huge development potential. I very often say that genius lies at the base of that brain and the mechanism of thinking when there is no place for emotions. When the brain works like a machine, discarding but taking into account all the data and taking only extreme positive elements into the analysis system. It seems contradictory, but true!
            2. voyaka uh 16 February 2020 00: 14 New
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              Well done, gridasov good
  9. Uncle Izya 21 March 2020 10: 25 New
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    You can understand even Subaru, she let out planes in the war and the Tayota sewing needles