Prodrone PD6B-AW-ARM hexacopter gets grabby

Quad- and hexacopter drones have exploded in popularity over the last couple of years in applications ranging from toys to Hollywood productions. Japanese company Prodrone is all business, though. Going by its website, the company has built custom drones that can land on water, launch nets at other drones, and inspect infrastructure like bridges, among other tasks.

Prodrone has taken all that expertise and produced a rather frightening-looking new drone platform called the PD6B-AW-ARM. This hexacopter does away with the gimbal mount typical of many drones for a pair of custom-designed, five-axis robot arms. I'm sure having a pair of claws on an aerial platform is useful, but I'm also scared. Behold:

Prodrone suggests the PD6B-AW-ARM could perform jobs like deploying lifesaving equipment over water, cable-cutting, manipulating dials and switches, or other tasks well-suited to a pair of hand-like manipulators. The company's promotional video shows the drone picking up and carrying water jugs, chairs, and more. The PD6B's arms are rated to carry payloads as heavy as 22 lb (10 kg), and it can fly for up to 30 minutes using  pair of 16000-mAh batteries.

Prodrone's base PD6B-AW platform can operate in all weather conditions, and the company says it can tailor the basic chassis for video production and delivery duty, among others. The control system can also apparently be customized for the specific needs of the end user. Prodrone doesn't offer pricing info, but the amount of custom work and end-to-end support the company offers likely means that the average Joe isn't the target market for these products anyway. Now, excuse me while I try not to freak myself out by watching Prodrone's demo video again.

Comments closed
    • SuperSpy
    • 3 years ago

    [url=http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=2135<]I've seen this before...[/url<]

      • gigafinger
      • 3 years ago

      [url=http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/19g74e38r7qx9jpg.jpg<]I was expecting this...[/url<]

    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    I’m reminded of the grabber in Space Quest III.

    • Bobs_Your_Uncle
    • 3 years ago

    I’m concerned about what happened to the lifeguard that had been tasked to deliver that Lifeguard Personal Flotation Device shown at the end. I doubt the poor guy/gal had any chance at all …

    • TwoEars
    • 3 years ago

    Could be quite deadly with some dynamite or molotovs. Forget about guns, if I was in the secret service or with private security I’d be losing sleep over drones.

      • DrDominodog51
      • 3 years ago

      I think nitroglycerin would be more deadly in this scenario.

      • psuedonymous
      • 3 years ago

      The early 2000’s called, [url=http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/06/05/1054700308768.html<]they want their hysteria back[/url<].

        • TwoEars
        • 3 years ago

        At some point someone is going to be assassinated with one of these drones and then we’ll see who’s hysteric.

          • Wonders
          • 3 years ago

          Apparently they make another version that throws nets at other drones. So the great drone assassination hysteria of September 2016 (n_hysterics = 1) surely spells good business for Prodrone.

      • Anonymous Coward
      • 3 years ago

      I imagine that the power of AI will eventually make certain types of AI work a legally regulated activity, so that the building blocks available to regular people will refuse to participate in certain activities. I don’t think that dynamite-carrying will be [i<]anywhere near[/i<] the most dangerous thing that will be technically possible in a few decades.

    • TheJack
    • 3 years ago

    I’d say in 20 years from now these things could replace cars.

      • Arclight
      • 3 years ago

      Not needing to construct, repair and maintain roads would be quite good. Just imagine all the highways left abandoned and covered with vegetation while people are flown above in autonomous drones.

        • TheJack
        • 3 years ago

        Technically speaking it is possible to make such cars today. But you would need to use extremely high tech light materials which are very expensive at the moment.

        Let’s put it this way: a Steve Jobs of the car industry could pull it.

      • UberGerbil
      • 3 years ago

      Really? How do you expect the laws of physics to change in a way to make that viable?

      To vertically lift the cargo capacity of a typical car and transport that typical driving ranges, you need a [i<]lot[/i<] of energy -- and the fuel to supply that energy has to be carried also. So -- assuming you're not using jets and jet fuel and all the issues that brings -- at the very least we need a pretty incredible over-the-horizon breakthrough in battery technology (both absolute power density as well as power/weight). Then you have to deal with the noise that propellers or ducted fans of the necessary size would generate (there's a reason that promo video uses nice background music and not raw audio capture of the drone in flight). The fact that we can make these things self-guided and able to avoid one another in a congested environment, is necessary but in no way sufficient for them to scale up to the point where they could replace cars.

        • TheJack
        • 3 years ago

        I am not disagreeing with the problems you mentioned, but it is not impossible by any means. It is a matter of finding the right laws of physics for whatever it is that you are doing. The biggest law of physics is this: The amount of energy required for any action, for example moving the milky way to the other side of the universe ( if it has any sides ) is always almost zero. Anything more than that is wasted energy. So optimizing the hell out of these things, could indeed make flying cars possible.

        Give me 20 000 000 000 dollars and I’ll do it.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    He’s Sooooo Handy!

    /Fallout

    • ThatStupidCat
    • 3 years ago

    Oh yeah, now we can mug the Dominos pizza drone with this baby! I want the pizza.

    • mkk
    • 3 years ago

    Now we’re getting somewhere. Needs more claws, and tentacles for arms.

    • mark625
    • 3 years ago

    Jeez, what is that thing, like 6 ft across? It’s freaking yoooge!

    Edit: Not a bad guess, /me. The motor-to-motor distance is 57 in, and the props are 27 inches diameter. I would hate to have that fall on my head! OTOH, let’s see Bubba McTriggerHappy take a potshot at this drone. LOL.

      • Arclight
      • 3 years ago

      It has tiny hands but his props, they’re yuge. People tell the devs all the time, hey devs your drone’s props are yuuuuge.

    • puppetworx
    • 3 years ago

    I need a small version of this to tidy my house.

    • chuckula
    • 3 years ago

    Give it a flying monkey costume and I’ll take it!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 3 years ago

      My daughter cannot watch that scene in the Wizard of Oz, because it scares the crap right out.

        • chuckula
        • 3 years ago

        ME TOO!

      • drfish
      • 3 years ago

      /me does my best Captain American impression, “I understood that reference.”

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