The “Ioncraft”, a mini-drone developed in California, weighs only 30 milligrams and measures just 2×2 cm. Unlike other mini-drones, it does not fly with the help of electric motors and rotors, but with the power of ions. Due to the built-in electrohydrodynamic engines, the “Ioncraft” accelerates by the collision of ions with neutral molecules, which are ionized and accelerated by the engines in an electric field. The world’s smallest drone can be controlled similarly to other quadrocopters, but the energy supply and data communication are not yet very mature.
The installed EHD engines are to be used in the future not only in drones but also in larger flying objects. They are highly important for research, as they can be used, for example, in space research, but also in agriculture, rescue operations and environmental research.