A major Chinese drones manufacturer is looking to make its mark in the inspection sector after completing a utility project in remote Bhutan.
MMC deployed its latest professional-grade drone model, the A6 Plus hexacopter, to string power lines in the small Asian nation. Why use a drone? Towns and villages in Bhutan are located in some of the most rugged mountain terrains in the world – with some peaks in the Eastern Himalaya range towering to 23,000 feet.
As of 2011, the Bhutanese government supplied electricity to 60 percent of rural households. Using drones to string more lines helps the nation in its quest for 100 percent electrification.
And, MMC’s A6 offers just the right mix of horsepower and payload to help light up Bhutanese villages. With a modular design, the hexacopter can handle up to 200 various payloads with a capacity of up to 15 pounds – more than enough to tackle a powerline project or utility inspection. The A6 Plus boasts a flight time of around 75 minutes.
MMC’s Bhutanese mission is yet another example of the #DronesForGood phenomena – drone-fueled projects aimed at alleviating poverty, disease and access to modern resources.
And, MMC’s efforts are not the first time drones have benefitted Bhutan. In 2015, drone developer Matternet partnered with the World Health Organization to provide drones to deliver medicine and medical equipment to residents in the more remote rural areas. Since Bhutan only has approximately one physician for every 3,333 people, such a service could help save thousands of lives.
For MMC, the success of the A6 Plus is another victory among many for the Shenzhen-based manufacturer.
In April, MMC unveiled video footage of the first commercially available hydrogen drone. With flight times of over 3 hours and distances of over 100 km, the breakthrough could help remove barriers that restrict drones from longer inspection and relief missions.
In November, MMC announced it would give DJI’s prosumer Matrice 600 a run for the money with the release of the F6 Plus – described as a “a multi-function drone, featuring interchangeable mounts for varying industrial applications.” Like the A6 Plus, the F6 Plus offers 200 payload configurations, as well as a “plug-and-play” universal mount system and double GPS to ensure uninterrupted satellite signal.