Nagoya, Japan-based industrial drone manufacturer Prodrone Co. Ltd. has developed what it calls a large-format drone equipped with two robotic arms, enabling it to directly accomplish a variety of tasks. Separately, PRODRONE has developed a self-propelling, surface-clinging drone.
According to the company, the hands-on tasks for the PD6B-AW-ARM aircraft include grasping and carrying differently shaped cargo, attaching or joining things, cutting cables, turning dials, flicking switches, dropping lifesaving buoys, or retrieving hazardous materials.
The PD6B-AW-ARM is based on PRODRONE’s large-capacity PD6B-AW airframe, which has a maximum payload of 20 kg (44 lbs.). For the new model, the company’s development team designed, produced and attached two five-axis robotic arms, which can carry a maximum payload of approximately 10 kg (22 lbs.). In addition, the company says, the drone has a flight time of up to 30 minutes.
Designed for the civil infrastructure inspection market, the PD6-CI-L drone addresses a key pain point in bridge inspections, the company says: Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has identified 700,000 road bridges that require inspection, but unique environmental conditions such as powerful wind gusts often make it difficult for traditional drones to complete inspections.
Instead, the PD6-CI-L uses negative pressure to cling directly to an inspection surface. The design enables accurate image capture by allowing the drone to maintain a constant focal distance from the surface, according to PRODRONE, which adds that the drone can inspect not only horizontal surfaces (e.g., ceilings), but also vertical surfaces (e.g., walls).