CyPhy Works have just released an 80g hexacopter drone that can fly for over 2 hours. You might be wondering how the heck this is possible given the tiny size and curreny battery technology. Unfortunately they have not found a secret to amassing batteries long endurance electric flight, or maybe they have found a great alternative…
The way they are able to achieve such long flight times is by using a microfilament tether that is used to power the drone and also communicate with it. At first you might think this is a rather lame idea, but it does make some sense for military applications as it essentialy means that the drone is un-jammable. For civil applications it might have its uses too since its technically not a drone since its teathered to the ground so might not have the same regulations (despite the fact that its only 80g so wouldn’t have any regulations anyways in most countries). So this is not such a bad idea if you are flying outdoors and are using the drone mainly for surveillance/security type applications where you need to loiter in a given area for an extended time . In addition to essentially providing unlimited duration flight to the drone, the cable is also a neat way to get past some other issues as you can stream full HD video through the cable easily and don’t need to care about using powerful video transmitters then needing to choose various frequencies so that they don’t interfere with one another.
Overall a great idea for certain applications , what do you think?
And finally here is a video of the hexacopter in action, if you look closely you can see the microfilament tether just as its taking off.