Autonomous Plane? Quadrotor? Both? Meet the ATMOS!


If you’ve been trying to decide between building an autonomous quadcopter or a fixed wing UAV, you may not have to choose anymore.  [Team ATMOS] from Tu Delft University in the Netherlands, has developed a UAV that can autonomously transition from quadcopter flight to that of a fixed-wing aircraft. Although the world has seen several successful examples of transitioning-flight or VTOL aircraft, team [ATMOS] claims to have made the first autonomous transition of this type of craft.

This UAV was featured in their school newspaper, which provides a write-up about the work that went into creating this hybrid UAV. When you’re done with that, be sure to check out the two videos after the break. The first shows the [ATMOS] taking off vertically and flying off as a flying-wing fixed aircraft. The second video shows this and other UAVs in the [DARPA] competition that it was designed for. Fast forward to 2:24 to see this aircraft do a fly-by.

Thanks for the tip [Dirk]!


  1. words says:

    It’s easier to build a VTOL when it’s

    1.) Really small

    2.) Not carrying people

    (relatively, of course) I think unmanned drones are probably very well suited to it for obvious reasons and this is a great idea.

    Having known someone who helped work on Boeing’s Osprey, I wouldn’t want to get in one unless I was planning on jumping out of it, or at the very least it was a calm, not-windy day.

    • Blue Footed Booby says:

      The Osprey actually crashed fewer times from conception to today than the F-14 did during initial testing, it’s just that since it’s a troop carrier whenever it crashes it tends to kill several times the number of people. Especially now that the vortex issues are ironed out (where it suddenly lost lift while transitioning between hover and normal flight modes) it’s really a fairly safe vehicle. Less safe than an airliner, mind, but that’s true for most military troop carriers just by virtue of what the machines are made to do.

      • Stu says:

        Doesn’t the Osprey also suffer from short engine life due to its high demands? I remember reading this somewhere.
        Something about how the Ospreys jet engines die early (or earlier) because they’re essentially being overdriven (and undercooled) during VTOL.

  2. carl689 says:

    Reminds me of this:

  3. atomhax says:

    Dr who anyone?

  4. DayHay says:

    First? Aerovel has had this for awhile.

    Auto refuel and all.

  5. kevin mcguigan says:

    I have tried with little luck to get my quadcopter to fly but I am having extreme difficulty. Anyone know where I could look for help? I am using the KK Multicopter board and I cant get all motors to start at same time.

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