In the beginning, the drones were fragile machines but now with the new technology and advancements in material, they are capable of lifting heavier objects. Heavy lift drones, also known as delivery drones, are unmanned aerial vehicles used to transport cargo, packages, food, medical supplies, and much more. Heavy lift drones are not only meant to lift cargo and supplies but to lift heavy load cameras for photography and videography.
The heavy-lift drones or delivery drones are autonomous. They are guided through software to deliver the cargo to a certain destination. In November 2020, the FAA proposed the airworthiness criteria for the delivery drone’s certification. It was intended to start the commercial operations of drones. Amazon Prime Air, Wingcopter, and Zipline were among the 10 companies that were selected for this type of certification.
How Do Heavy Lift Drones Work?
Heavy lifting drones work the same way as normal drones. They are based on sophisticated flight controllers which control the flight of the drone by giving instructions to all of its pieces of equipment. This includes all built-in sensors, motors, modules, electronic speed controllers (ESCs), etc.
Upward propulsion is provided by at least four motors each having a propeller attached to the top. Quadcopters are the most common drones of the heavy lifting drone group. They carry four propellers/motors. On the other hand, hexacopters and octocopters have six and eight motors/propellers, respectively.
The motors/propellers do all the hard work, ensuring maximum load capacity and higher top speeds. When it comes to heavy payload capacity, the more the merrier. It means that generally, drones with more motors/propellers can lift more weight. Also, some other factors affect the load capacity of heavy-lift drones.
The most important is the total weight of the drone such as the weight of its structure. It greatly affects the weight/payload ratio.
Can Heavy Lifting Drones Lift People?
Payload is the carrying capacity of a drone. While drones have proven to be very adaptable and useful, the payload capacity is usually one of the limiting factors. It is true for the important role of the micro drones that they are used for efficient search and rescue missions. Hence, heavy-lift drones can be of great use in emergencies.
Drone manufacturers design drones for various purposes with which they can carry payloads of various sizes. The average payload capacity of normal drones is from 0.6 to 4 pounds but the heavy lift drones can carry up to 44 to 485 pounds. Hence, heavy-lift drones can lift people.
Can Drones Lift Red Cameras?
While there are drones that are capable of lifting people, it is not exactly a smart decision to consider all the safety rules you would break. With heavy lift drones, you can lift expensive and power film equipment.
The advanced technology and high-end models of heavy lift drones are capable of mounting expensive cameras such as DSMC2 gimbal/drone. Hence, cameras can be mounted on drones.
Features of Heavy Lift Drone
You should know that you will not always have ideal conditions during the flight. You will encounter bad weather like wind, rain, mist, fog, and snow. Therefore, you should choose a flexible drone that can adapt to various weather conditions. If you know how to use a drone, then choosing the heavy lift drone would be easier. Keep in mind that bad weather dramatically reduces the drone’s flight time while carrying a payload.
Some heavy lift drones must have special characteristics to serve the purpose. For example, heavy-lift drones are used by hotels to deliver bottles of wine to their guests on their balconies. For this purpose, the drone must have exceptional stability.
On the other hand, scaffolding companies use heavy-lift drones to provide masters in the upper position with the right material to work with. For this purpose, the drone should be capable of supporting a heavy load. How to choose a great drone for you depends on the purpose. The payload capacity and stability at certain heights is one of the major needs for heavy-lift drone users.
What you should know before buying a drone? Heavy-lift drones serve a very different purpose than any other type of drone. Their build quality, configuration, operation, features, etc. makes them pricey. So, there is a wide range of heavy-lift drones that can range from $2,000 to $20,000. Keep in mind that the higher the price of the heavy-lift drone the better the quality and suitable for the purpose.
When carrying a payload, the drone should be stable during the flight. One of the desirable rules is that the drone should be able to carry twice the weight of any payload it intends to carry. It ensures that there is little chance of something going wrong and the payload is transferred successfully.
For example, if the drone is capable of carrying a payload of 6 pounds and the wine you are transporting weighs 5.5 pounds, then it might be a problem regarding stability and safe transfer.
Flight time is one of the most important factors along with the payload. The payload and flight time are linked to one another. Does the drone weight affect its battery life? The heavier the payload, the lesser the flight time. It is because the drone consumes more energy sources to carry the payload. When looking for a heavy lift drone, try to look for extra battery options so that the flight time can be increased.
Safety is one of the important factors that you need to consider while purchasing a heavy lift drone. Heavy-lift drones are heavier than normal drones because they have to carry a payload. So, during the flight, if the drone loses its stability in the air, it can cause a serious injury to someone near the drone.
The safety of the drone ensures that the drone will not lose power during the flight. Some heavy lift drones come with built-in parachutes that are one of the top ways to protect your drone from damage.
Like normal drones, heavy-lift drones require regular maintenance that results in fewer breakdowns. Some parts of heavy-lift drones can be more expensive than regular drones because of the build quality. Just like cars, bikes, planes, and other machines, heavy-lift drones need maintenance after certain flights.
Applications Of Heavy Lift Drones
Heavy lift drones can be used to deliver or transport medicinal products such as medical samples, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, blood products, and much more. With heavy lift drones, medical supplies can be delivered or received from inaccessible areas in a short time rather than using road transport. Hence, heavy-lift drones can save lives in emergencies.
Due to the distinguishing properties of heavy lift drones as compared to different types of drones, they are used for food delivery purposes. The stability of the heavy-lift drone makes it perfect for frozen drinks, tacos, pizzas, and other food items delivery.
The prototype food delivery drone was by Star Simpson’s Tacocopter demo. It was used to deliver tacos in the San Francisco area. A similar demo was done by Burrito Bomber in 2012.
Various postal companies in the UK, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Ukraine are conducting drone trials to test the cost-effectiveness, feasibility, and pros and cons of drone delivery services. Amazon Prime Air, Wingcopter, and Zipline are some of the 10 companies chosen for the drone delivery services demo.
Military heavy lift drones are completely different from regular drones. While understanding the different types of drones available, the United States Military is having the most advanced heavy-lift drones. They are the real state-of-the-art transatlantic UAVs. Also, these drones are equipped with advanced technology that you might not have seen in commercial heavy-lift drones.
The two types of heavy lift drones used by the US military are surveillance and combat drones and exploration drones. They are capable of lifting higher payloads than commercial heavy-lift drones. It is because the military supplies are transported to a large number of hardpoints.
Heavy Lift Drones – Future Of Delivery Services
Heavy-lift drones are highly sophisticated machines than the normal drones used for wedding photography. The heavy-lift drone is capable of lifting a heavy payload and carrying it to the targeted destination. The payloads can be food supplies, vaccines, medical supplies, military supplies, or just wine bottles.
The payload capacity of the heavy-lift drones depends on the maximum recommended payload or maximum effective payload. It implies that the maximum payload weight ensures the optimal flight of the drone. The best feature about heavy-lift drones is that they are suitable for all weather conditions. On the other hand, the stability feature of the heavy-lift drone makes a stable flight from point A to point B even in extreme weather conditions such as wind, rain, fog, mist, and snow.