tech2 News StaffSep 27, 2017 08:27:57 IST
A Chinese drone-maker has developed the world's first unmanned, amphibious commercial aircraft capable of detecting submarines and delivering goods to islands, state media reported today. Liu Jiandong, founder and chairman of UVS Intelligence System, a privately-owned drone-maker in Shanghai, said mass production of its U650 seaplane has begun and will enter commercial operation this year with a Chinese express delivery company and a client in Southeast Asia, state-run Peoples Daily reported.
He declined to name the buyers, citing business confidentiality, but said both contracts had a "considerable value". "We are working with the domestic client to apply for approval from air traffic management authorities of our plan to open a freight route next year using the amphibious drone," he said. The drone has been developed to allow for autonomous transportation of larger amounts of cargo than supported by delivery drones for packages developed by UPS or Amazon. Currently the drone can ship about 250 kg of goods, but the eventual target is to support 500 to 1,000 kg.
The research and development for the aircraft took three years. The design prototypes for the logistics industry are ready, and the drone is now going into commercial production. The drone is designed to deliver cargo to remote areas, such as those inaccessible by road, coastal regions and islands. The composite body is resistant to corrosion and does not get damaged by marine environments. The large cabin opens up to accommodate a variety of cargo. There are also four plug-in points on the wings that can be used for drop operations to provide emergency supplies.
With inputs from PTI
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