Dragonfly Pictures, Inc. (DPI) is working to bring their DP-14 unmanned aerial vehicle to the civil and military market. The DP-14’s shares its tandem-rotor design with Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook, the U.S. military’s manned, heavy-lifting workhorse. DPI says that their autonomous aircraft can serve a similar role by carrying cargo or even people into and out of challenging terrain.
The DP-14 is designed to carry up to 450 pounds. Fully loaded, the drone can fly for about two hours, but range is extended with lighter loads and more fuel. Designer expects that the drone can reach top speeds of 105 knots (120 miles per hour).
DPI hopes to make its first test flight of the DP-14 Pelican variant by early 2016, according to Aviation Week. Their tandem-rotor design has already been proven with some of their other UAVs like the DP-12.
The DP-14 will use advanced technologies like light detection and ranging, and complex navigation algorithms to make it possible for the aircraft to fly with minimal human input beyond line-of-sight and autonomously evaluate landing sites. DPI says that the drone only needs one operator. In fact, DPI says, one person will be able to fly multiple DP-14s at the same time, a capability which will increase the system’s carrying capacity.
DPI is working with a variety of U.S. government partners to develop their UAV systems including NASA and DARPA. Because the DP-14 drone weighs more than 55 pounds the Federal Air Administration is also working with DPI to give it a special certification for commercial applications. One of the possible agricultural uses for the drone would be to spray fields.
For more pictures and details, check out the DPI website.