This Drone Can Lift an Astonishing Amount of Weight
Delivery drones are being studied by everyone from Amazon, which announced its Amazon Prime Air initiative in 2016, to medical organizations looking for a new way to transport transplant organs.
While drones have many advantages over road vehicles, they have one major limiting factor: they can only carry relatively light items. It sounds pretty sensible to bring home a book. But a sofa? Don’t bet on it, do you?
Don’t make this bet with the folks at the San Francisco-based startup ZM Interactive, you will lose a few dollars quickly. The company that develops drones has just unveiled its new line of xFold drones, which can lift objects weighing up to 1,000 pounds.
There are several xFold drones, ranging from a small model – the xFold Spy, which can lift up to 15 pounds – to a 12-propeller animal called the Dragon H, which can carry the aforementioned 1,000 pounds. The drones have a modular structure so that different configurations of arms can be attached. Each drone has a carbon fiber body and can be flown with four propellers or with six, eight or 12 propellers in a quadcopter shape. The drones are functionally the same, but scaled according to the payload they have to carry.
The name xFold comes from the fact that they can be folded up to be more compact for transport.
“Even the largest drone that can lift 1,000 pounds can be folded to fit a full-size SUV car,” Ziv Marom, CEO of ZM Interactive, told Digital Trends. “This makes them very easy to transport to reach selected applications such as search and rescue missions.”
Marom said xFold’s ability to carry heavier payloads has attracted great interest from a variety of industries. These include the navy, which wants to use the drones to transport cargo from the coast to ocean-going vessels at sea, the construction industry, which they want to use as an alternative to cranes, and the wind turbine industry, which wants to use repair.
The drones cost between $ 5,000 for the smaller model and over $ 100,000 for the £ 1,000 carrier. Marom noticed that it is a little more complex.
“Each drone comes in so many different configurations that it’s really difficult to say the cost of the drone [a particular amount]”He said.” It depends on the location, the mission and the weather. We can tailor the drone specifically for the mission or the customer. You can switch between configurations, remove arms, or use different arms with different models. “