Boston company CyPhy Works has just launched the commercial version of the spy drone, Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) drone, which can stay up in the air for however long you want it to. The military’s been using it to monitor its compounds for quite a while now, but the $22 million the company raised in an investment round enabled it to manufacture the product for commercial release. PARC can fly up to 500 feet, and it never has to land thanks to a microfilament attached to it that can transmit both power and data. [via engadget]
This drone uses an extremely thin wire tethered to the ground to transmit power and data. The six-rotor Parc carries a high-resolution camera capable of producing infrared footage for night vision. The microfilament tether is thinner than a headphone cable but strong enough to reel the drone in if necessary. The drone can be set to fly completely automatically at a specific altitude.
CyPhy Works is also developing a small untethered drone for hobbyists and a unique kind of delivery drone. The delivery drone has rotors that can swivel, allowing the aircraft to fly more like a plane, making its flight more energy-efficient. Greiner said this drone would be able to carry a five-pound payload for five miles.
Earlier this month the company received $22 million in funding from several venture capital firms as well as UPS, which has said it is interested in exploring drone delivery.
“By 2020 you will be seeing drone delivery,” Greiner said. “Technically we could do it earlier, but if you’ve been involved in the struggle with the FAA since the ′90s you would not place a bet that they would allow larger, non-line-of-sight vehicles to fly over populated cities.”
Currently, the FAA allows people to fly drones for recreational purposes as long as they maintain a light of sight with the drone, and as long as the vehicle stays below 400 feet, stays at least five miles from an airport, and is flown only in daytime. But the FAA is preparing to require amateur drone users to register their aircraft, and it hopes to have the rules for that in place by next month.
In order to fly a drone for commercial purposes, an exemption is required. The same restrictions on where and when drones can be flown also apply.
Source – Technologyreview.com