A New Hybrid Drone Is Ready to Take Long-Range Deliveries to the Next Level

A Los Angeles-based delivery drone expert has unveiled its latest creation, the RDSX Pelican. This cargo drone combines the efficiency of a hybrid VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) platform with dedicated features for facilitating last-mile deliveries.
The RDSX Pelican combines VTOL capabilities with a long range 7 photos
Photo: A2Z Drone Delivery
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Suppose you're into robots in general and drones in particular. In that case, you shouldn't miss the AUVSI XPONENTIAL 2023, currently at Colorado Convention Center until May 11. This annual event showcases some of the best innovations in the field. This year, one of the latest drones to make its official debut at this gathering is the RDSX Pelican.

A2Z Drone Delivery offers commercial products based on intensive research. It started as a drone delivery project at Brown University in 2016. Its current portfolio includes an integrated cargo drone (the RDST) and a rapid-delivery system, the RDS2. RDSX Pelican is the newest member of the A2Z Drone Delivery family, designed for extended range and payload.

The hybrid fixed-wing/multirotor design means that the Pelican can offer the optimized range of fixed-wing aircraft without conventional control surfaces, coupled with VTOLs' flight stability and reliability.

With no payload, the Pelican promises an impressive range of 50 km (31 miles). With a five kg (11 lbs) payload, it can cover up to 40 km (24.8 miles). A 45-knot (51 mph/83 kph) cruising speed enables it to cover routes in a shorter time, and its total payload capacity can go up to eight kg (17.6 lbs).

Some of its special features include a payload auto-release function (a mechanism for box depositing without human intervention) and parcel pick-up (it's able to retrieve payloads of up to five kg/11 lbs while hovering at a safe altitude). Plus, it doesn't require specialty delivery boxes. It comes with optimized connectivity thanks to an automatic network selector that can transition between multiple 4G networks.

The Pelican can also come with the company's proprietary winch. In this configuration, it can deposit cargo from altitude, without landing, through tethered release. The main advantage is that it protects the propellers from potential ground obstacles such as powerlines, buildings, or even trees.

This type of configuration comes in handy when the delivery spot is an area with unknown topography. This method is welcome even for conventional delivery destinations because it eliminates the unpleasant rotor noise while respecting privacy requests (by delivering the payload from altitude).

The Los Angeles drone company also claims to lower operating costs without impacting performance. According to it, the Pelican drone comes at an operating cost of only 13 cents/kg/km.

This new drone developed by A2Z Drone Delivery is available in multiple configurations, with pricing starting at $29,000. The company is already receiving orders, with the first deliveries estimated for June this year. Until then, the Pelican will be on display for two more days in Denver, Colorado, at this year's AUVSI XPONENTIAL.

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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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