Connected Device Soars over the Alps

7/1/2013
When considering automated flying devices, or even UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles), it might be a little too tempting to stereotype them as big toys. Most of us played with, or at the very least saw a remote controlled car, boat, or plane during our childhood. To some, this branch of M2M technology might simply come off like a line of incredibly expensive toys.

But there’s nothing playful about the possibilities offered by unmanned flying technology, as recently illustrated by microdrones, www.microdrones.com.

The company recently collaborated with u-blox, www.u-blox.com, on the new five kilogram md4-1000 microdrone, a new light-weight VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing vehicle). Manufactured by microdrones, and equipped with a GPS satellite receiver from u-blox, the device recently completed a 12 kilometer trip over Saint-Gotthard Massif, a mountain range in the Alps in Switzerland.


Sven Juerss, CEO of microdrones, says during its journey, the md4-1000 was faced with intense wind and temperature fluctuations. It also had to navigate around power lines and a cable car. At one point, it even had to endure a 1,600 meter change in altitude. The device is capable of flying autonomously for up to 88 minutes, and can carry up to 1.2 kilograms.

“The successful journey of our microdrone demonstrates the robustness, reliability, and versatility of our autonomous drone technology which is being increasingly used for aerial mapping, surveying, search and rescue, security, utilities inspection, and aerial photography,” says Juerss.

But microdrones and u-blox are hardly the only players in the field of automated crafts and vehicles. Draganfly Innovations, www.draganfly.com, recently developed the Draganflyer X4-ES Ultra Portable Quadrotor UAV. The device is compactable, light weight, and intended to be less cumbersome than other UAV models. It also features a high-quality camera, removable rotors, and foldable landing gear. The Draganflyer is expected to be beneficial for the public safety and emergency service industries.

Given the potential benefits involved, we might expect to hear a great deal more news about UAVs in years to come. Research and Markets, www.researchandmarkets.com, estimates 50 companies, universities, and government organizations are developing over 150 different UAV designs. The global UAV market is expected to grow to $8,351 million by 2018. It was estimated the United States and Israel will be the major revenue generators.

Looking at devices like the md4-1000 and the Draganflyer, those promising figures don’t exactly seem far-fetched. These companies might just be knocking on a door which could open up a world of new ideas and possibilities.

Want to tweet about this article? Use the hashtags #M2M, #UAVs.



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