This new drone is likely to revolutionize the courier and delivery industries.
The Chinese company, UVS Intelligence Systems has recently unveiled the world’s first amphibious drone that will be able to navigate both sea and land.
The drones will be made available to the public for purchase at the end of 2017. Dubbed the U650, the drone is 20 feet long and has a range of over 2000kms. However, this distance is subject to the load the drone carries. The drone will be able to stay in the air for up to 15 hours without needing to recharge and is built using carbon fiber. The total weight of the drone is 750kg and boasts a speed of up to 180km/h. This drone is said to be used both for commercial and civilian purposes.
According to CNN, many companies have attempted to create a prototype of an amphibious drone, however, up until now, no other prototype has been successful.
UVS has tailored its design in order to appeal to the delivery industry. Several massive e-commerce sites including the Chinese site JD, as well as the American and British Amazon, have been aggressively looking for ways to have a more time and cost effective delivery system. This drone prototype may be just the solution.
According to UVS, the U650 can carry loads of up to 250kg. Loads can be anything including sensitive materials such as survey instruments, camera equipment, medical supplies, etc.
It remains to be seen whether UVS will cooperate with the Chinese army, but they have stated that they’ve received plenty of active contracts from reputable customers who are now eagerly awaiting delivery. No clients could be named due to business confidentiality.
The design of the U650 is based on the Spanish aircraft, Colyaer Freedom S100. UVS has successfully acquired the intellectual property rights of this aircraft and modified it to create the U650.
Founder and chairman of UVS Intelligence System, Liu Jiandong expressed nothing but confidence in their latest prototype, stating that the U650 can fly above and land on water. In addition, the U650 can also last much longer than smaller models which eliminate the need for stopping to recharge during a single flight. The aircraft is also entirely safe.
According to Jiandong, UVS is currently engaged in applying for approval from air traffic management authorities in order to plan freight routes next year using the U650.
Despite the enthusiasm from the delivery sector, Kelvin Wong, an analyst from research firm HIS Markit cautioned that the new drone will likely have a limited operation in its infancy. Due to the size of the drone, it won’t be able to fly in the same airspace as traditional manned aircraft, this will, in turn, restrict a lot of the U650’s potential.