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66 S wiss Aerobotics has developed a hybrid VTOL platform called the Hummel that has evolved over several years into a counter- UAV system to target rogue UAVs and capture them. The vertical take-off gives fast deployment, while the horizontal flight mode allows it to get to the target quickly with a weighty payload. The Hummel can then bring the rogue UAV back to the ground for examination. The system did not start out with this aim, however. As CEO of Swiss Aerobotics, Jonas Weiss, explains, “I like the NASA Puffin and the Volocopter air taxis, so I thought I would design my own VTOL craft similar to those.” The Puffin was an experimental hybrid vertical take-off platform developed by NASA in 2011 as a personal air taxi with a range of 50 miles that could carry a single person. So Weiss did the preliminary design for a personal, manned air taxi similar to the Puffin that could take off vertically and travel horizontally at speeds of up to 140 kph. It was built as a 1:3 scale model and flown without electronics as a model airplane to test out the design and to carry a payload of 3-4 kg. “The plane’s original design had a Nick Flaherty charts the evolution of this airborne system that’s designed to target and capture rogue UAVs Catcher in the sky April/May 2018 | Unmanned Systems Technology The Hummel achieves its VTOL capability using variable-pitch rotors (Images courtesy of Swiss Aerobotics unless stated otherwise)