Hybrid Cyclorotor Drone

Pitch Aeronautics has designed a drone for up-close and touch-based industrial inspections. This large drone (6ftx9ft and 38lbs) can carry a 5lb sensor or tool for 20 minutes and position it near (or even touching) a bridge, dam, tower, or building to perform an inspection. The aircraft ties together a unique drone configuration (allowing the payload to be placed on an arm away from the drone), a special type of rapid thrust-vectoring propeller (called a cyclorotor), some special sensors, and totally new flight control strategies. Together, these innovations make the hybrid-cyclorotor drone the most precise aircraft in the world. What can you imagine doing with a drone that can touch?

In tandem, Pitch Aeronautics is developing some modular sensors for initial use on the drone. One sensor can automatically measure and record crack widths. Another can identify subsurface defects in concrete, steel, and fiberglass by heating up the surface of the object and then taking a series of thermal photographs.

What Makes This Product The Coolest Thing Made In Idaho?

The Hybrid Cyclorotor Drone leverages two complementary technologies to develop a more efficient, safer solution for inaccessible, remote infrastructure and industrial inspections. This drone reduces the number of times tower climbers have to get up on ropes and ladders to perform inspections. Today’s drones have difficulty in flying close to structures because of the manner in which they move. They must lean forward to move forward and lean back to move back. Leaning takes time and if a gust of wind emerges, they cannot lean fast enough to compensate. Pitch’s drone uses a cyclorotor for lateral control, which allows it to precisely and quickly move forward, backwards or side-to-side without leaning


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