A simple model and a demonstration drone in one of the innumerable stands of the Paris Air Show and yet this project makes a lot of talk about him. The Mini Bee is the French transport drone project to follow, until Airbus unveils its project currently being studied in California, but unlike the latter or the Chinese Ehang 184, Is not a classic industrial project. Behind the model of Mini Bee, the collaborative effort of the whole Normandy region.
The Norman engineering schools involved in the Mini Bee challenge
Supervised by Technoplane, the Mini Bee project is a vast collaborative project that led to a challenge carried out by the NAE (Normandie AeroEspace cluster) in which all the engineering schools and IUTs of the region have engaged teams of changed students to study the different parts of the future transport drone. The initial challenge is to create a 2 or 4-seater drone capable of making a Rouen-Cherbourg flight within a maximum of 1h30 (for a little less than 250 km).
Louis Demelin, a first year student at ENSTA Bretagne and a member of the ENSTAero club, emphasized at the Paris Air Show: “Our work was to design a first demonstrator dedicated to the study of mechanical problems related to the distribution of Masses on the drone, bending and twisting of the wings, etc. ” In addition to the calculation component, the engineering students made a first demonstrator who made his first test flights in the school gymnasium. “It flies correctly in stationary mode (helicopter mode), but we have not yet reached the critical phase of the flight, that is to say the transition to the aircraft mode. And this is where all the flight control problems appear, and as soon as we get back to work, we will be working on this. “
The challenge continues while 5 companies based in Normandy announced to Air&Cosmos magazine their will to join the program. CPM Industries, AEN, Volum-e and Ingéliance have decided to join Technoplane in the adventure of the transport drone. The companies could bring between 3 to 5 M € to finance the program in its march towards a first prototype that could fly within one to two years. Possible commercialization is hoped for in 2025. A particularly ambitious roadmap in the aeronautics sector.
Translation : Google Translate
Source : “Bourget 2017 : Première levée de fonds pour la voiture volante Mini Bee”, Air&Cosmos, 2017, June 19