Unmanned aircraft systems manufacturer AeroVironment kicked off this year’s Drone World Expo in San Jose, California, by unveiling its new commercial Quantix drone and Decision Support System (DSS). The package includes the Quantix drone—a vertical takeoff and landing multirotor, multi-sensor system—with the company’s DSS cloud-based analytics platform.
Quantix is targeting the agricultural, energy and transportation markets, and AeroVironment is offering the system to customers in versions that include hardware only, hardware plus DSS or flight services that the company can provide for customers who don’t want to operate their own drones.
“We believe this is the first practical, fully integrated solution for the commercial market,” said Wahid Nawabi, AeroVironment’s president and CEO. “Customers don’t want to be experts at UAV operations and data analysis,” he added, noting that the Quantix drone is designed for long life, reliability and ease of operation. AeroVironment has manufactured tens of thousands of drones operating globally in harsh environments, he said, and has a track record of 45 years in this industry.
The Quantix drone is equipped with four rotors, two on the ends of a single wing. A central fuselage is fitted with two cameras, one an RGB color camera for photographic image capture and a multispectral sensor with normalized difference vegetation index (NVDI) capabilities. All data is stored on SD cards, which can be removed post flight for local analysis or uploaded to AeroVironment’s DSS.
Operation of Quantix is automatic. Users interface with the drone via a customized tablet computer, by drawing the flight parameters on the screen. “It’s one-touch planning,” said Quantix product line manager Tom Stone. “If you can draw a box on a screen and push a button, you can fly Quantix. You don’t have to learn how to fly it, how to land it, and it’ll take off automatically, plan the mission automatically, fly that mission automatically, come back and land, and you can take the data card and put it in this tablet and you can look at the results immediately.”