This strange machine has received the nickname "flying dryer" in some American media, although it may look a little weird, the drone developed by Underfined Technologies is a small technology concentrate. It uses the "ion wind" to travel by air.
The U.S. company has been talking about its ion-powered drone project for two years now, but it seems that the project is still evolving, because Undefined Technologies has announced its intention to launch the drone commercially in 2024, and the machine called "Silent Ventus" is unique in that it does not use fuel to maintain itself in the air; in fact, its entire structure allows it to move.
The process is as follows: "grates" of which it is designed to create high voltage electric fields. They can ionize nitrogen molecules and oxygen in the air, releasing electrons. Then a large number of predominantly positive nitrogen molecules are formed. They are drawn to a poorly charged electrode. By accelerating, they hit and run into other air molecules in the same direction. This is known as the "ion wind".
The technology itself is not new; it has already been used in the space industry in various missions.
However, Undefined Technologies claims that its technology, known as Air Tantrum, provides "a higher level of propulsion, up to 150 per cent of existing ion engine technologies." This would be a big step forward than the first demonstration video that was released in 2020. This video showed only a few seconds of a rather fragile flight in a very small space.
In December 2021, the company released a 39-second video and stated that it was able to fly for two and a half minutes, and today it announces four minutes and 30 seconds of flight, although the new presentation video has been edited and shows one minute and 17 seconds of edited footage.
The company also claims that it has achieved a noise level of 75 decibels, which is more or less equivalent to that of a vacuum cleaner. It is not very quiet: drone designers have reduced the noise level, but since their first prototype was more than 90 decibels. Undefined Technologies has called for further investment in a drone for delivery, which it says will fly for 15 minutes and produce less than 70 dBs by the end of 2023," says Undefined Chief Aerospace Engineer Thomas Benda Jr. in a press release.