A Japanese start-up has made what’s said to be the first drone with clawed arms that can lift heavy objects and perform operations that require dexterity, such as cutting through cables and flipping switches.
The world’s “first dual robot arm large-format drone” weighs 20kg, can carry objects as heavy as 10kg, and has a flight time of up to 30 minutes.
From drone maker Prodrone, the PD6B-AW-ARM is designed for conducting “hands-on” tasks in “places where it would be too dangerous for humans”, including high altitudes. For example, it can pick up cargo and hazardous objects, cut cables, flip switches, turn dials, and transport life-saving equipment, said its developer.
The clawed Prodrone has six blades and two five-axis robotic arms, which are designed to be dexterous.
According to a survey carried out by dronesdirect.co.uk, one of the UK’s leading drone retailers, 12% of construction firms are now using drone technology. The report, which is based on a survey of 3,000 drone users and data from thousands of sales of drones, states that trade (construction/plumbing) businesses have adopted drones faster than any other industry.
According to the report, half a million people are using drones for commercial purposes – and construction firms are among those leading the way. Across all industries the most popular usages for drones are photography, surveys and security.
Drones that can pick up objects would open the way for wider uses, including potentially bricklaying.
“We are firmly focused on the future of commercial drones and on being world pioneers in developing ‘task-oriented drones’,” said Masakuzu Kono, chief executive of Prodrone. “The PD6B-AW-ARM makes a whole range of tasks possible, and I am confident that nobody else could have made it.”
The start-up, which was founded in 2015, specialises in drones that “require superior technical precision”. It has previously made a drone that can carry up to 30kg and one that can fly at over 5,500m. Its other products include a laser surveying drone, as well as drones that can land on water, inspect infrastructure and read RFID at high speeds.
Main image: www.prodrone.jp
We are firmly focused on the future of commercial drones and on being world pioneers in developing ‘task-oriented drones’. The PD6B-AW-ARM makes a whole range of tasks possible, and I am confident that nobody else could have made it.– Masakuzu Kono, Prodrone