Delivery drones have one massive flaw in their otherwise great system – their carrying capacity. The power source directly dictates a drone’s weight capacity, while also affecting how far it can travel. The solution for this weakness is of course attempting to extend the battery life. But with such small frames, how much battery can one drone carry without having the battery itself be the burden?
The Battery Dilemma
Some drones opt to maximize battery size in its interior. The US-1 drone for instance packs as much battery into the drone to reach a two-hour flight time. This means gutting the entire standard format of a drone’s inner mechanisms to make way for more battery storage. Others try looking outside the drone for a recharge system that can help extend the drone’s life while flying. Lasers and induction towers have also been looked at in an attempt to keep modern drones from landing to recharge.
Nano But Not Out
A new delivery drone boasts that it can lift cargo several times its own weight. The catch is it does not fly continuously to its destination. It flies to a target point and attaches itself to an anchor. It then pulls its cargo to the target using a cable, similar to a fishing reel. The drones will do this sequence repeatedly until it gets to its destination.
The drone (with no official name yet) weighs just 100 grams and can literally fit at the palm of your hands. It is very small, yet packs a punch when it comes to its lifting power. How is that even remotely possible, you ask?
For one, the drone attaches itself to its anchors using grip technology inspired from actual gecko feet (who can cling to ceilings with no problem at all). Using the same concept, the drone can latch itself into a wall or any solid structure. It then reels the cargo behind. The idea is that a drone will spend a ton of energy carrying the cargo while in the air. If it will pull the load at a fixed location, it conserves energy while still transporting it.
Of course, this still is in its very early experimental stage. The drone only weighs 100 grams, so claiming that it can deliver goods multiple times its own weight is not groundbreaking. It could be 300 grams or so, but it can still be technically true. What one can look at this is the technology’s implementation to bigger drones. Then, the carrying capabilities start to have a little more weight in the discussion, no pun intended.