Hera drone can lift 33 pounds, fly for an hour and fit in a backpack
While we have heard about heavy-lift drones before, they're typically big things that have to be transported in a vehicle. The Hera, however, can lift 33 lb (15 kg) yet also be carried by one person in a backpack.
Manufactured by California-based Realtime Robotics, the Hera quadcopter features a largely carbon fiber airframe, the propeller arms of which fold down for transit and storage. In that folded state, it measures 22 x 13.7 x 9 inches (55 x 34 x 22 cm), making it back-packable.
It tips the scales at 33 lb – the same as its maximum payload. According to the company, such a lifting capacity is at least 2.5 times higher than that of other similar-sized folding drones.
The cargo can take the form of four separate gimbal-mounted cameras or other sensors – for instance, the drone can be equipped with visual, thermal and corona cameras along with a LiDAR unit, all at the same time. Additionally, because the Hera features retractable landing gear, the cameras can pan 360 degrees without getting any part of the copter in their shot.
The Hera also boasts an impressive runtime, with one charge of its 44.4-volt/29,400-mAh lithium battery reportedly allowing it to fly with no payload for 56 minutes. That figure drops to a still-decent 46 minutes if it's carrying a 5.7-lb (2.6-kg) Phase One P3 gimbal camera package.
According to Realtime Robotics founder Quoc Luong, the Hera's combination of lifting power and portability is made possible partially by that battery, along with the drone's lightweight folding airframe.
"All backpack-sized copters out there use motors with max thrust less than 4 lb [1.8 kg] per motor, because more powerful motors require bigger propellers and as a result the airframe cannot fit in a backpack," he told us. "Hera uses powerful motors with max thrust of 35 lb [15.9 kg] per motor and big propellers, but came up with a unique way to fold the airframe including motors, propellers, battery, and a gimbaled camera [...] As a result, the folded Hera can fit perfectly fine in a backpack."
Commercial, industrial or military clients can preorder the Hera drone now, with delivery expected to commence in August. We're told that pricing for the base version will be less than US$24,900.
Source: Realtime Robotics