Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are not only one of the most fascinating and fastest growing technologies they’re changing industries and enabling what was previously thought to be impossible. From recording video from 100 feet in the air to completing military missions overseas, drones are now being implemented on a large scale. For example, today unmanned vehicles account for 41% of the U.S. Department of Defense aircraft fleet.
Draganﬂy Innovations is the longest running manufacturer of multi-rotor helicopters in the world, starting with their Draganflyer RC quad rotor helicopter in 1999.
These drones are popular in photography and videography, as they allow for unique angles and views that are otherwise difficult or impossible. In addition to aerial imaging, Draganﬂy’s creations have also served to assist with public safety. After sirens and K-9 units were unable to locate a family who had gotten lost in the woods while hiking, an infrared-equipped Draganflyer X4-ES unit was used to locate the family. Five units were purchased by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia and used to respond to emergency response calls, crime investigations, traffic scene reconstruction, and search and rescue operations. The family was safely returned home thanks to the ability of the drone.
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is now home to a Draganflyer X4-ES unit after it became the first recorded civilian small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) to be credited with saving a life.
For expanded capabilities and a longer range of controlled flight, Draganfly needed to equip their units with advanced point-to-point communication for remote wireless control.
The new Draganflyer X4-P offers the world’s most advanced platform and a professional quality, yet easy to fly design constructed from high-quality carbon fiber and injection molded components. Units are controlled by custom built controllers, which provide precise aircraft control, real-time aircraft telemetry, camera control, GPS position and digital video downlink.
By partnering with Digi International, each X4-P is equipped with a wireless XBee® module, allowing for greater distance control.
Draganfly chose the XBee-PRO® 900HP, which communicates over the unlicensed 900 MHz band. Modules that occupy the 900 MHz frequency band are ideal for applications requiring relatively long distance communications. In comparison to 2.4 GHz radios, the XBee-PRO 900HP’s signal is less affected by obstacles like buildings and trees, which drones frequently encounter.
And, since the XBee is supported in regions around the world, no serious design changes are required if Draganfly’s customers want to use their drones outside of the United States in locations such as Europe and Australia since the XBee also has an 868 variant with the same footprint.
The technology has enabled public safety agencies to save lives and assist in dangerous operations is expanding the reach of technological advancements.
"At Draganfly we are committed to continuing technological advancement and innovation," said Cory Baker, production manager. "That innovation has helped us create incredible systems that are assisting public safety agencies and saving lives."