Zoe Zetona drone gives camera payload a front row seat
Acecore, the Dutch company behind last year's heavy lifting Noa, has launched a new industrial drone called the Zoe Zetona that positions it camera payload up front, instead of hanging it below like other drone designs.
The idea for the new variation of the company's existing Zoe model is to enable "operators to inspect various assets and perform land surveying missions without obstructions" – from top to bottom, or zenith to nadir, which is where it gets its name from.
The drone is home to a custom-designed 2-axis Gremsy gimbal that allows the camera – such as Sony's 61-MP A7R IV full-frame mirrorless model shown in the promo images – to be mounted out front.
This setup means that the drone's frame doesn't obstruct imagery, while also allowing operators to tilt the gimbal 90 degrees up or down. All camera settings can be accessed remotely, and the EXIF data in images are automatically geotagged.
The company reports that many of the drone's components had to be moved around to ensure that the new setup was well-balanced and could operate in various weather conditions. The Zoe Zetona supports solo or dual operators, and can be had in quadcopter or octocopter configurations, giving the option of full redundancy thanks to the development of a new proprietary coaxial UAV motor that's been designed to fit in the same housing as the quadcopter motor.
"One of the biggest technical challenges we faced was giving the secondary camera operator control over the drone’s yaw movement to adjust the live camera view when inspecting an asset," said Acecore founder and CEO, Jorit Linders. "In the end, we achieved this while ensuring the pilot in command remains in override control over the drone’s movements to guarantee a safe operation."
It's Li-Po flight battery is reckoned good for up to 26 minutes of per-charge operation while carrying the A7R IV camera, though it is capable of hauling up to 2.2 kg (4.8 lb) of payload thanks to its rigid carbon fiber frame. The reported top horizontal flight speed is 91 km/h (56 mph).
The drone is capable of remaining almost completely still in the air if needed, can withstand wind speeds of 25 knots, has LiDAR obstacle avoidance cooked in, benefits from an encrypted radio link with a datalink range of 16 km (9.9 miles), and includes an ADS-B transponder.
The Zoe Zetona is available now to commercial operators, with pricing available on request. A Zetona backpack for transporting the drone is currently in prototyping. The video below has more.