The biggest challenge faced by today’s aerial vehicles is the adverse environmental conditions in which they have to fly. Several fly-zones pose a lot of problems for air-borne transport, like rain, wind, and dust. Such factors delay or even stop the launch of critical flight missions. Most industrial drones in use today cannot be flown even in slightly bad weather conditions, and this might cause loss of value and time. Operating the aerial vehicles in such conditions will also force the operators to take huge risks. Ascent AeroSystems, a Massachusetts-based firm has now developed the Spirit drone with a very simple structure that proves to be an efficient solution to all these weather conditions.
The main frame of this drone is cylindrical. Cylinders are inherently strong. The cylinder is configured vertically. This reduces the size of the airframe and makes the drone more portable. The simple structure makes the drone resistant to water or dirt. All these features make this small cylinder drone to be the most environmentally adaptable and highly enhanced drone yet.
This cylinder drone, named as ‘Spirit’ has been in the development stage for almost five years. Recently, the drone found its first major customer – Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics. This drone proves to be a worthy tool for use in important military, intelligence or public-safety operations, especially those operations that involve rough waypoints of flight. As per the specifications released by Ascent AeroSystems, the drone is compact enough to fit into a backpack. With the power supplied from two batteries alone, it can fly for more than fifty minutes.
The drone’s unique shape and structure open the path to several unique features that cannot be achieved from conventional aerial vehicles. It provides a unique platform for different configurations Vertical Take-Off and Landing (VTOL).
Steve Norris, Dynetics’ department manager for Unmanned Systems says, “The Spirit’s modular configuration also improves our ability to incorporate new technologies, so we can rapidly develop new payloads and demonstrate new capabilities to our customers in the defense and intelligence communities.”
The drone has also been tested for stability and maneuverability and it shows great promise for future systems. It can carry out operations that most other bulky and heavy drones cannot accomplish.