Oh Great, Now We're Giving Drones Robot-Claws

Prodrone, a Japanese UAV company, has taken the wraps off its new PD6B-AW-ARM, a drone that contains a pair of robotic arms for grasping items from the air, among other things. The drone was recently showcased at InterDrone in Las Vegas, and it hints at a future where drones are for more than just aerial photography.

The arms can, combined, grasp items that weigh up to 22lbs; they are both five-axis offerings, as well, for extreme flexibility to accommodate different environments and items. Unlike the average consumer drone, this one will probably be launched for commercial purposes.

The drone features half a dozen rotors, two more than the typical quadcopter, and it is capable of carrying fairly heavy payloads without becoming unstable. This is thanks in part to an algorithm that enables the drone — and its two robotic arms — to shift the payload as necessary to maintain its center of gravity.

Despite the payload weight, the drone can reach speeds up to 37 mph according to Prodrone, and can travel for up to half an hour on a single charge.

The maximum operating altitude is 16,404ft, though regulations will — for now, at least — require it be kept lower. Power is delivered via a pair of onboard 16,000mAh batteries. As with most drones, this latest Prodrone model is weatherproof for use in rain and other adverse conditions.

PD6B-AW's uses will expand beyond lifting and carrying items, it seems. The manufacturer suggests the robotic arms could also be used to perform other tasks like, for example, cutting wires.

It isn't clear at this point when the drone will be available, nor how much it will cost; however, with companies like Walmart looking into drones for inventory maintenance purposes, it's not hard to see how the model could prove useful.

SOURCE New Atlas