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Whisper Aero’s quiet leaf blower is a stepping stone to better delivery drones

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Four months after Whisper Aero unveiled its electric ducted fan technology at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aviation Forum in San Diego, the Tennessee-based startup is showcasing a commercial application of the tech at another trade show — only this one is focused on landscaping, not aviation.

Whisper is at the Equip Exposition in Louisville, Kentucky this week with a prototype of an ultra-quiet leaf blower, one that it claims is 40 times quieter at 50 feet than leading competitors, while using 40% less energy and moving 40% more air. Whisper CEO Mark Moore demonstrated an earlier prototype at the more aviation-centric UP.Summit in Texas two weeks ago, and the contrast with a conventional leaf blower was dramatic.

Related: Whisper Aero takes the wraps off its Whisper Jet

While a leaf blower may appear to be a departure for a company that has “Aero” in its name, Moore and Chief Operating Officer Ian Villa explained that the project has direct relevance to aviation. In particular, it has allowed the company to pioneer low-cost manufacturing techniques that can also be applied to small drones, which face similar challenges as leaf blowers with respect to noise and community acceptance.

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