Track 1: Aerovel’s Flexrotor drone is made for the high seas.
Track 2: Flexrotor was originally designed in the 90’s as a tool to track tuna fleets. Because it can take off and land vertically without the need of any additional infrastructure, Flexrotor can operate on almost any vessel.
Track 3: It comes stowed in a box and can be assembled for flight in just 10 minutes. Once in the air, it transitions to horizontal flight and can remain in the air for up to 16 hours within a 100km range.
Track 4: The vehicle’s route can be preprogrammed or controlled by ground operators over a wireless data link from a ground dish. Capable of carrying up to a 4-and-a-half-kilogram payload, Flexrotor can be equipped with a number of different sensors, including LIDAR, infrared, and multispectral.
Track 5: It’s already proved useful in several missions.
SOT: “Our first mission we went out for this was actually to protect marine protected areas. We were out at sea, Cocos Island, 300 nautical miles off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, to monitor the marine protected areas and make sure there wasn’t illegal poachers and shark finners and such in the area.” – Parker
Track 6: In July 2016, a fleet of ships used the Flexrotor to help them navigate between ice sheets in the Arctic.
Track 7: Only 20 Flexrotor aircraft have been produced, but Precision Integrated, a company that provides operators and services for the unmanned vehicle industry, has signed up as a launch customer for the platform. It will offer the Flexrotor as a rental service. Precision says full-rate production of the aircraft will begin in the first quarter of 2017.
Track 8: For IDG News Service, I’m Magdalena Petrova in San Jose, California.