Fully automated 'Optimus' drone is science fiction made real
The driverless drone can carry a delivery for up to 30 minutes, without any human interaction.
If you had to offer up a tagline for the future of aerial drones, it would likely read: "More tech, fewer humans." So great have the advancements in both artificial intelligence and flight engineering progressed, that human pilots will soon have little more to do than type in a flight path and walk away. In fact, it's a future that may already have arrived.
Airobotics, an Israeli tech firm, has just become the first company in the world to be granted authorization to fly fully automated drones without a pilot. This is a genuine milestone moment for the nascent drone industry, since up until now all drone flights have required a human presence. “Here in Israel, we are always pushing the boundaries of innovation,” said Ran Krauss, CEO and co-founder of Airobotics.
The Airobotics system, called Optimus, is innovative in its approach to drone charging, takeoff and landing as a completely integrated solution. Whether a site is utilizing one Airobotics drone or dozens, each unit comes with its own weather-proof airbase that includes the necessary software, components and communications for specific flight paths and tasks.
To gain certification and forever change how drones will be utilized, Airobotics performed rigorous field testing and logged more 10,000 flight hours and automated flight cycles over two years. "We have refined the way drones are used and have turned them into a professional industrial tool," Krauss, a graduate of Ben Gurion University in Israel, says in the video below.
Automated drone technology promises to deliver not only cost and time savings across industrial sectors, but also boost both safety and emergency response. Airobotics' technology can perform routine tasks related to security, inspection and surveying – all without the endangerment of employees traditionally engaged in such work. For example, the drones could be used to respond to emergencies that would put employees in danger, such as a gas leak.
Each Optimus drone can fly for 30 minutes and has the ability to carry sensors, cameras or lasers specific to the assigned mission. There's even a parachute system should a worst-case scenario unfold and the drone lose communication with its airbase.
Airobotics says its technology is used by companies in both Israel and Australia. The firm also recently received a waiver authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, clearing the way for it to begin offering commercial drone services in the United States.
“Airobotics is redefining the drone industry. We're ushering in a future where industrial enterprises make informed decisions based on insightful aerial data," added Krauss. "This is the future of drones."
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