A Drone That Can Fly Forever Sounds like Science Fiction, Until You Hear Its Very Simple Secret

Parc drone by CyPhy 1 photo
Photo: CyPhy
Drones are a big thing at the moment. Everybody wants one and if prices keep going down, almost everyone will eventually have one. Why? Nobody stopped to ask that question, but they’re fun.
Besides routinely taking some of the most amazing footage with relative cheap investments (compared to when you had to rent a helicopter to get similar results), drones are also used for other purposes, such as aerial surveillance or remote monitoring. But regardless of the task given to them, they all have a major drawback: sooner or later, they have to return to base for recharging.

However, there is a drone built by Boston-based company CyPhy Works that’s called Parc and which can hover above ground indefinitely. Nope, the secret of perpetuum mobile has not been uncovered. Instead, the drone uses a microfilament to transmit power to the drone and data to and from it.

That “microfilament” is described to be as thin as a headphone cable, and despite giving the UAV virtually unlimited flying time, it does come with an obvious drawback: the drone can’t get too far from its power source.

Well, given that laws don’t allow drones to go over 400 feet in altitude and the handler has to maintain visual contact at all times, that tethering cable doesn’t look like such a big nuisance anymore. And yet the manufacturer expects its drone to be used primarily for reconnaissance or as a communications relay.

The current legislative format didn’t keep companies such as UPS from investing in drone-related technology, hoping to make drone parcel delivery a reality. Google even went as far as to say it would be doing just that in two years’ time, but anything involving new or modified laws - see autonomous driving - will probably take more time to become reality.

The Parc isn’t designed for that, though, being equipped with a high-resolution camera capable of night vision. The drone also has a backup battery in case anything goes wrong, while the cable is strong enough to reel in the UAV if necessary.

You could say that tying a drone to a cable kind of transforms it into a glorified post, but there is more versatility to the Parc than that. For one thing, it’s more difficult to move a few hundred feet tall post than a drone.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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