Now, here’s a drone that blurs the line between an aircraft and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). It is called SKYF Cargo, a purposed built cargo drone that is now staking claim as Guinness World Record for the heaviest weight to be lifted by a remote-controlled multicopter. Built by Russian drone maker SKYF Technology, this drone so enormous that dwarfs every other non-military drones out there. Moreover, what makes this heavy-lifting drone ticks is very unique.
Unlike most drones that rely solely on electric power, SKYF Cargo is a hybrid drone. It marries the best of both worlds; the brute power and range offered by gas engine and the agility of electric motors. As you may have guessed, the gas engine (in this case, a 220 HP motor) is responsible for the heavy-lifting duty while the significantly smaller electric motors, located at the corners of the aircraft, are charged with maintaining stabilization and navigation.
SKYF said this setup will enable SKYF Cargo to haul up to 440 lbs (220 kilograms) of payload for a duration up to eight hours, or to a range of 220 miles (350 kilometers). However, in a demonstration late last month in Tatarstan, Russia, it did not pushed the aircraft to its limit. Instead, it lifted off with 220 lbs (100 kilograms) of payload and flew 330 feet (100 meters) – just enough for it to smash the 134 lbs (64 kilograms) record set by students from the University of Oslo.
As of now, SKYF Cargo and the other agriculture-focus SKYF AGRO are the world’s biggest multi-rotor drones. The AGRO is essentially a variant that is designed for crop dusting, which SKYF already has its sight set on. The first five SKYF AGRO will be operating the fields of Tatarstan, Russian in 2019, and by 2020, SKYF is expecting “a hundred of ‘air trucks’” to be produced. As for control, it is all programmed with an iPad. Like the small drones we know today, this ginormous drones are able to avoid obstacles, stay away from restricted areas and detect oncoming traffic.
SKYF said the cost of operating SKFY Drone is significantly lower than a helicopter, thanks in part to the use of petrol as opposed to the more expensive aviation fuel. Aesthetically, SKYF drones may not look like a lot, but already, some countries have expressed interest in this commercial UAVs that cost around $225,000 per unit.
Images: SKYF Technology.
Source: New Atlas.