Total automation tech is not here yet as many believe and many news articles present it to be. Until it is, remote pilotage is necessary for some of the journey or for situations automation can not handle. We’ve found in tests that head tracking unites the pilot with the vehicle in a way a statically mounted camera can not. We are developing a more rugged head tracking gimbal to be fitted to our vehicles after recent successful tests of head tracking systems.
Alphabet has received FAA approval for drone deliveries. CASA has done so also. Full automated transportation and freight is only a matter of time.
Currently these sail drones are used for research, but there’s no reason we can’t use them for freight. I’m sure this company is already onto it.
Team Black Sheep has posted a video of what 7rocks will be attempting at a commercial level with a slightly larger payload.
Google and Wing also have things going on with CASA approval for drone deliveries :
Drone_build_estimate.pdf is an estimate of the materials needed to build a delivery drone wing with a payload of 4kg and a range of 8.3km on a single charge.
Our initial prototype for the unmanned freight platform. This blended wing design has proven itself very stable and controllable with a huge amount of cargo space. Head tracking for piloted landing and take off is currently being refined.
From here the course of 7rocks changes somewhat. I am hugely enjoying building and flying the RC (Remote Control) flying things you can see at WingFocus.com. It is a hobby and I want to keep it as a hobby, but I really need more resources for parts. Now that I want to put more gear on the wings for FPV head tracking, motors, flight controllers etc etc I need bigger aircraft. The current hobby size equipment is the same as larger aeroplanes, but as wingspans proceed past 1m the hobby gear is rather under gunned.
Also the biggest thing I enjoy about RC is spending hours talking RC guff with my mates who also like different facets of the hobby. And now with this whole FPV thing becoming so price friendly, we can be virtual pilots and do things which would be considered extreme, ridiculous or life threatening normally, but only kill a bit of gear when it goes wrong.
There is so so sooooo much to explore and I don’t think I’d live long enough to even get 1/10th of the way through by myself. I also want to build heavier flying machines. (a) for the challenge (b) because there’s something graceful about bigger planes and (c) to maybe make something useful which contributes to society. .So maybe making RC autonomous freight systems for the fee paying market may be the go. I have no idea if there’s even a market for this type of stuff, but we’ll see what comes. I can pull in other enthusiastic crew, acquire enough resources to build with and have a truck load of fun on the way.
At this stage I think going fully opensource is the go to build a community around the Drone freight systems. Like the Nextcloud model. I really think society has turned a corner and we have to start thinking as an interconnected group rather than individuals. WingFocus is where I’ve been posting most of the research and development on flying things. So check the blog there.
For those that are interested, there are shares available in 7rocks which will be issued to raise capital for building the first autonomous freight systems.
With the improvement of CAD CAM (Computer Aided Drafting Computer Aided Machining) this unusually shaped flying wing could be created. I had tried more than 10 years ago to make objects for fluid mechanics based situations using CAD software, but there were a lot of limitations. I’m sure it was possible back then, but not without a lot of cash for specialised software or sitting down to write the software myself. Now the open version of Fusion 360 with a 2010 model MacBook Pro managed to do the job – just!
For more blog posts of the process behind this flying wing (which I have labeled ‘Gemot’) see WingFocus.com.