The Israeli makers of Optimus, a fully automated drone, hope it will be rolled out in industrial facilities, seaports, power plants, and oil and gas facilities across the globe. Jim Drury has more.
The makers of Optimus say it's the most advanced fully automated drone yet. Optimus can carry a one kilogram payload at 36 kilometres per hour for 30 minutes. The quadcopter takes off and lands prescheduled missions inside this Airbase docking station. SOUNDBITE (English) ELAN FRANTZ, HEAD OF RESEARCH AT AIROBOTICS, SAYING: "The goal of the whole system is to create what we call full cycle automation, that's to launch, fly, land, maintain and repeat. The purpose of the drone is to carry the sensor or the payload as we call it to the destination, collecting data. The goal of the docking station is to house the drone in a weather proof way to give it new energy source and to swap out the payloads, depending on the mission." Optimus works with cloud-based software and can carry cameras, sensors and lasers. It has a parachute in case of malfunction. Optimus is already used in industrial enterprises in Israel and Australia. Makers Airobotics say it could be used in seaports, power plants, mines and oil and gas facilities. SOUNDBITE (English) AIROBOTICS CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, RAN KRAUSS, SAYING: "The future has so many possibilities using this specific thing, if you think about it. Flying in cities for emergency response situations or applications and being able to take off from one station and landing in another so that extends the range dramatically." Airobotics says hordes of quadcopters could one day fill the sky, their routes charted by a navigation program like Waze, with multiple docking stations on the ground.