A new commercial drone company started by a team of Stanford PhDs is introducing a radical new commercial solution. At InterDrone next month, CA startup FlightWave will debut the Edge drone – an autonomous, battery-powered endurance drone which can leverage solar power for increased range.
The Edge represents an academic, ideal design – but it’s one that really works. It’s fast, it’s strong, it’s green, and it’s even open-source: but the Edge has clearly been developed for serious commercial missions.
“We’re in the UAS business to make a difference,” said FlightWave CMO Edmund Cronin. “The Edge is a serious tool for challenging missions that require long range, long endurance, and all-environment reliability. This aircraft is no toy. It provides budget-sensitive capabilities that enable customers to achieve their mission for less money. The Edge is ideal for mapping, remote patrol and surveillance, ecosystem monitoring, and other scenarios calling for affordable, long-range eyes in the sky.”
The Edge offers a unique design on many levels, explains Trent Lukaczyk, Flightwave’s Co-Founder and CTO. “The FlightWave Edge™ UAS is a vertical takeoff airplane that is highly refined on numerous levels. It is one of the fastest in the UAS industry, able to fly up to 100 km/hr, and it flies farther than any other UAS, up to 100 km in range. It flies longer, up to 120 minutes as an airplane. It’s built stronger, from fiber-reinforced composites with a weatherproof design…The Edge is also far easier to operate, with a small logistic footprint that can be packed and assembled out of a durable, rigid, case in 60 seconds. It’s adaptable, featuring a swappable payload system that allows users to run multiple missions with different sensors on the same airframe. And it’s scalable, at a price that will let organizations build a fleet of “Edges” for the same cost of another single vehicle on the market.”
With the new drone, FlightWave is introducing a new way of offering customized solutions for commercial customers. The Payload Partner Program is FlightWave’s initiative to open-source an integration kit for the Edge’s payload/nosecone.
“The Edge isn’t just a drone: it’s an airborne development platform. FlightWave is the only company with an open-source platform to integrate new sensors,” said Cronin. “Some clients will design something so personally suited, so unique, that we may only make it once. Other designs will excite the whole marketplace and, once certified, will be made publicly available in our store. We know we’ll be surprised — and likely inspired — by what new sensors our partners design to fly”.
FlightWave is partially funded by Breakout Labs, an investment organization supporting “early stage companies as they transition radical scientific discoveries out of the lab and into the market.”
“We’re confident that FlightWave will quickly penetrate the nascent drone market and rapidly grow into bigger projects,” say the investors. “We’re eager to help support its long-term goal: to fundamentally change the performance of aerospace vehicles via a carbon-free future.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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