Cyclotech and Yamato collaborate to unveil a bizarre, tilting cargo-drone concept with a unique propulsion system

Austrian propulsion specialist CycloTech GmbH and Japanese delivery company – Yamato Holdings Co.Ltd. have completed a joint feasibility study on applying a new thrust vectoring propulsion technology, named “CycloRotors”, to create a mid-class cargo eVTOL (electric vertical take-off and landing) aircraft.


The collaborative study focussed on two innovative elements:

  • PUPA701 (Pod Unit for Parcel Air-transportation) developed by Yamato
  • “CycloRotors”- an innovative 360° thrust vectoring aviation propulsion system developed by CycloTech

The PUPA701 is part of the PUPA family of detachable and compatible cargo pods to be carried by eVTOL aircraft or other advanced air vehicles. Yamato has reportedly conducted multiple R&D efforts for this concept to realize a cargo eVTOL system that is highly feasible and able to be integrated into existing systems. Its concept is to enable multiple types of pods to be swapped easily to broaden missions and use scenes, as well as to separate loading/unloading sequence from the aircraft’s process cycle to secure the ground crew’s safety and maximize the utility of the aircraft.

CycloRotors are based on the same principle as the Voith-Schneider-Propeller, successfully applied for decades for highly agile and stable ships in the maritime industry. The compact design and direct and instant control of magnitude and direction of thrust offer a natural, stable transition from hover to forward flight and superior manoeuvrability.

An unconventional design


One look at the drone design and just as quickly, the realization kicks in that it is not a conventional drone design. Instead of helicopter-style rotors, ducted fans or any other recognisable system, the electric aircraft features six ‘CycloRotors’ and apparently, this would be the first time the unique characteristics of CycloRotors were used to design a mission-optimized unmanned cargo eVTOL.

One of the most promising features of Cyclorotors as a propulsion system is its low noise profile | CycloRotors

The design features a battery-powered, distributed electric propulsion system configuration with 6 Omni-directional thrust generating CycloRotors ensuring safety in flight and during take-off and landing, as well as stability in crosswinds of up to 36 kt (18 m/s).

According to the joint study conducted, the angle of each of the CycloRotor’s blades can be altered to direct thrust while the rotor structure spins.

The compact design, and direct and instant control of magnitude and direction of thrust, offer a natural, stable transition from hover to forward flight and superior manoeuvrability. The unique characteristics of CycloRotors give vehicle manufacturers unprecedented freedom in designing aircraft and drones 

A CycloTech and Yamato announcement 

Its compact design of only 2.7 x 2.5 m square footprint offers unobstructed, ergonomic access to the PUPA701 bay. The Pupa701 pod is designed to allow staff on the ground to quickly and safely load packages for delivery. 


All operations can be handled from one side, be it loading and unloading the payload, complete swap of the pod or charging or exchanging batteries. This ensures flexible, fast, safe and ergonomic handling, minimizing hazards to the operator or the vehicle. 


The design is based on extensive calculations, wind tunnel testing, and the first successful free flight of a prototype demonstrator, which took place in August 2021. 

The drone is touted to deliver advanced aerial logistics capable of carrying a 100lb (45kg) payload over a range of 25 miles (40km). 

Notably, no price tag for the drone nor any dates for its possible entry into the skies has been released yet. 


COVER: CycloTech

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