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ADEX 2023: Hyundai, Kia unveil hydrogen-fuelled cargo drone

Hyundai and Kia envisage the HFC drone to have a cargo carrying capacity of 200 kg and a flight endurance of two hours. (Janes/Amit Kalra)

Hyundai Motor Group and its sister firm Kia unveiled the hydrogen-fuelled cargo (HFC) concept drone at the Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition (ADEX) 2023 held from 17 to 22 October.

A Kia official told Janes that the new platform represents the next phase of the Kia and Hyundai group's focus on developing hydrogen-fuelled unmanned aircraft.

In 2022 Hyundai revealed its Project N multicopter drone powered by a combination of hydrogen fuel cells and batteries.

The KIA official added that Project N drone has been flying since 2022 to mature hydrogen fuel cells technology.

The operational parameters envisaged for the HFC drone include a cargo carrying capacity of 200 kg and a flight endurance of two hours. The hydrogen fuel cell system from Project N drone will be incorporated into the HFC drone for military operations, the KIA official said.

The HFC drone model displayed at ADEX 2023 featured a swept-back wing design. The model featured two tiltable ducted fans on the wings (one on each wing), and two ducted fans at the aft section, one each on either side of the fuselage. The model did not feature any prominent tail section.

Details about the HFC drone's hydrogen fuel cells and powertrain were not disclosed.

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