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Drones have been flying around us for quite some time now, but these unmanned aerial vehicles usually belonged to a gadget-loving uncle or a wedding photographer. More recently, we can see drones beginning to live up to their broad potential in the commercial and industrial arenas. Many businesses are excited to utilize drones for a long list of use cases, but for that to actually happen, drone manufacturers must address one key issue: Endurance. For the drone industry to mature even further and fulfill its promise, its products need to work in more challenging conditions, for long hours and while traveling far.
There are so many ways to use drones in a variety of industries, from the possibility to complete aerial tasks on a budget, to saving lives by replacing humans in performing dangerous tasks. Here are a few examples that demonstrate both the potential of drone use and the challenge of doing so under the current battery-related limitations:
1.Disaster relief: Drones can be sent to disaster areas like storms and fires in order to help assess the situation and locate survivors without placing first responders in greater danger. Since every second can save or cost lives, it’s important not to waste time flying back to base for a battery swap.
When indsutrial businesses consider whether or not to embrace new technology, the cost and ease of implementation play a major role. When it comes to drones, without the ability to truly support large-scale operations, many industrial businesses will reach the unfortunate conclusion that drones are simply not worth investing in. Unlike individual consumers who can be satisfied with drones that are only able to last 30 minutes in the air, industrial businesses require a far longer flight duration in order for the effort to be worthwhile.
It’s also important to note that flight duration depends on payload capacity. This means that industrial and commercial use cases which require drones to carry heavier equipment and supply (or people) will offer an even shorter flight time. Sure, air taxis taking us on a 10-minute flight may be a cool experience, but they’ll never become a regular means of transportation without some serious propulsion advancements.
Current technology offers different ways to propel drones, each presenting its own advantages and disadvantages:
When drones were first introduced to the world, the focal point was their hardware. After shifting to software and use cases discussions, we are now going back to exploring the necessary hardware capabilities that will meet evolving market demands.
It’s hard to make predictions regarding technology, and even more so when the field in question is only beginning to show its true potential. One thing we can say for sure is that the drone industry is worth exploring, as it is set to grow and mature dramatically in the near future. We also believe we can learn a lot from what we’ve seen in the automotive industry and bet on hybrid options that use the best of different worlds to form one superior unmanned aerial vehicle. One such hybrid technology is developed by Flyworks, which offers a patented, novel way to propel multirotor drones using a petrol engine. The company leverages the remarkable performance of petrol fuel with the safety and simplicity of the multirotor platform. Most of the power that the drone requires to stay in the air comes directly from an internal combustion engine while a small electric drive system provides a small fraction of power only for maneuvering.
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