A few years back, we heard about Mobile Recon Systems' KittyHawk, a large-ish quadcopter that could carry three GoPro cameras. Well, the Kentucky-based company has now announced the new Dauntless UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), which can lift and transport over 200 lb (90 kg).
The Dauntless is available either as a quadcopter, or – by adding an extra motor and set of rotors to each of its four arms – an octocopter. As a quadcopter, it weighs 77 lb (35 kg) and can lift a payload of at least 100 lb (45 kg). The 200-lb figure is for the octocopter version.
It features a titanium and aircraft-aluminum frame, along with a carbon fiber body, canopy, battery box and rotors. Users can break the drone down into five sections for transport, and carry it by integrated hand grips once everything is put together.
Electrical power is supplied by two 2,400-watt generators, which are in turn linked to a gas engine. This setup reportedly allows for flight times of up to five hours. There are additionally two lithium-polymer batteries which can be drawn upon when a power boost is needed, or for performing emergency landings should the generators crap out.
If users don't wish to dangle their cargo below the UAV, they can opt for an onboard container capable of carrying a maximum of 80 lb (36 kg) on the quadcopter, or 160 lb (72 kg) on the octocopter. That said, the Dauntless isn't just about lifting stuff. It can also be outfitted with optional extras such as gimbal-mounted cameras of various types, weather stations, radiation detectors, radar or LiDAR (light detection and ranging) modules.
The UAV can be remotely piloted by one person, or it can fly autonomously, following a preprogrammed set of GPS waypoints. Making non-autonomous flight easier are features such as automatic take-off and landing, along with automatic return-to-launch. Buyers can also opt for a self-levelling monopod landing system, which keeps the aircraft sitting flat on uneven terrain.
Suggested applications for the Dauntless include border and perimeter security, natural disaster response, medical emergency first response, aerial analysis/mapping, and supplies transport. While the cost will vary greatly according to the configuration and options, we're told that "the price per unit could reach low six figures."
Source: Mobile Recon Systems
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