AeroVironment’s new Vapor 35 and 55 drones fly up to 1 hour on a battery charge and can fly automatic routes with a three-rotor helicopterlike design. The Vapor 35 can carry a 5-pound payload. and the Vapor 55 can carry up to 10 pounds.
Boeing Next’s PAV passenger drone is designed to shuttle four to eight passengers autonomously with no pilot. It’s shown here in a quarter-scale model for two passengers. Originally designed by the Aurora Flight Sciences subsidiary that Boeing acquired in 2017, the electric aircraft has a 28-foot wingspan and 30-foot length and should have a range of up to 65 miles. Its first test flight was in 2019. It can take off vertically.
Digital Aerolus’ Aertos 120 drone is designed to fly indoors for interior mapping and surveying tasks. It’s got flight control software specifically designed to work without GPS satellite navigation signals, which rarely work indoors. Its flight time is limited to about 10 minutes.
The BirdsEyeView Aerobotics FireFly6 Pro has propellers to take off vertically, but it can then fly as a more efficient fixed-wing drone once the propellers rotate to provide forward thrust. It costs $7,500 without any camera.
Uavita Systems’ Discovery drone, a massive machine with a 20-foot wingspan, is designed for agricultural uses like monitoring crop health and spraying pesticide. It’ll carry 176 pounds and fly up to 186 miles on one tank of fuel.
Not all drones use propellers and wings for loft. Mothership Aeronautics’ Photon airship uses — you guessed it — air. It can carry cameras, loudspeakers and advertising displays, and solar panels on the top let it stay aloft for a long time. It comes in models that’re 5, 8 and 15 meters long.
The $25,000 Baam.Tech Genysys hybrid drone can carry bulky payloads like this lidar scanner. With a 15-pound payload, it’ll stay aloft for an hour. Its 29cc gas engine charges an electric battery that runs the six propellers, each on a removable arm.
Drones used for agricultural surveying benefit from cameras that can see not only in the red-green-blue color spectrum of conventional cameras but also in near infrared light frequencies human eyes can’t see and the thermal spectrum of infrared light, too. This Micasense Altum camera model gathers all those frequencies of light so farmers can detect crop health, monitor water and fertilizer use, and map fields.