More than likely, the mention of drone or UAV will conjure up the image of a quad- or multicopter, or something along the line of the Predator. What you see here is what one would not imagine as a drone, but the thing is, it is in fact a UAV. Wait. Isn’t that a Robinson R22? Well, it was. It has been converted by UAVOS to an unmanned drone, now called R22-UV.
As part of the conversion, the gas-powered helicopter received an upgraded aircraft electrical system and the manual control, as well as the pilot seats, were eliminated to make way for an additional fuel tank that affords it a flight duration of over 6 hours. The fuselage was modified to allow servo drives and components of the automatic control system to be fitted.
The converted Robinson R22 has recently successfully completed in-air programmed missions where it flew for over an hour in a fully self-piloted mode, reaching an altitude of 2,200 feet (670 meters). During the flight, all scheduled tests were performed, including fully automatic take-off, en-route flight and landing, plus tuning of UAV control settings.
The UAVOS converted R22-UV has a maximum payload of up to 330 lbs (150 kilograms) and a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 1,400 lbs (635 kilograms). It has a top speed of 189 km/h (117 mph) and capable of climbing up to 13,780 feet (4,200 meters). Since it is a UAV, maximum mission radius applies and in this instance, it is 633 miles (1,020 kilometers).
R22-UV is conceived to accept a variety of payloads, including but not limited to cargo transportation, LIDAR, and agricultural operations using spraying equipment. It is also rigged to carry out night operations and flies in severe weather conditions. Though, the operational limitations of those will have to be verified. No mention of the engine, but we are going to assume it is powered by the stock R22 gas unit. Interestingly, it is totally capable of autorotation landing.
Source: Commercial Drone Professional.