Entecho secures Mupod deals

By Emma Kelly

Australian technology company Entecho is believed to have signed memoranda of understanding with a number of major defence companies on further development of its Mupod unmanned air vehicle.

For a number of years Perth-based Entecho has been developing manned and unmanned ducted fan vertical take-off and landing technology. The Mupod is a small UAV, measuring 600mm (23in) in diameter and weighing 5kg (11lb). The UAV made its first flight last May and has successfully demonstrated its ability to fly in urban airspace, including hovering near surfaces, perching on buildings, and bumping into obstacles and recovering.

Director and founder Kim Schlunke declines to comment on potential partners or the nature of the proposed arrangements, but the company has previously been seeking licensing and co-operative development deals.

© Entecho
Entecho's Mupod unmanned air vehicle

Since the first flight the company has made a number of improvements to the vehicle, says Schlunke, including reducing noise with the objective of making it as stealthy as possible and improving its ability to recover after hitting obstacles.

Entecho has also "greatly improved the simplicity of flying it", with the aim of making it fully automated using waypoint navigation, says Schlunke. The company is also talking to potential partners in payload development, such as camera and data systems.

Meanwhile, the company is seeking funding to allow it to fly by the end of this year the manned 2.7m (8.8ft)-diameter Hoverpod vehicle, which is aimed at the recreational market.

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