Sonin Hybrid, an Atlanta-based drone manufacturer, has just unveiled a 140 mph (225 km/h) drone built exclusively for first responders, called the Sonin Hybrid Recruit.
The firm says it is in the process of patenting a technology that allows its drones to recharge during flight.
It claims the Recruit can fly for over three hours and is able to reach speeds over three times faster than most of the fastest commercial drones currently available.
First responder UAVs
Despite the increasing prevalence of drones used by police, firefighters, and government officials, not many drones currently available are designed specifically for first responders.
This is largely down to the limitations of battery-powered drones, which typically must reach a charging point within a short period of time, meaning long-range missions aren't viable.
In a press release shared on PRWeb, Sonin Hybrid reported that its Recruit drone's enhanced capabilities will "keep first responders safe and extend their missions" in a way that hasn't been possible before.
The limitations of battery-powered drones prevent #firefighters from executing longer missions and carrying additional equipment. Find out the #SoninHybridRecruit drone is keeping #firstresponders safe. #CaliforniaWildFire— Sonin Hybrid (@SoninHybrid) September 23, 2020
👉 https://t.co/1rdUbdQvtt pic.twitter.com/QRkEZsVUsJ
The Recruit drone uses a patent-pending gasoline and battery-powered system that allows the drone to recharge itself while in flight. It also comes equipped with a 30X optical/12X digital zoom 4K video camera with fixed and mobile target tracking, a Forward Looking InfraRed (FLiR) camera with night vision, PA speakers, and a spotlight.
Flying longer and faster
Sonin Hybrid claims that, with its carbon fiber body, lightweight airframe, and the company's hybrid system, the Recruit flies longer and faster than other similar drones.
"While we were in the process of finalizing the design of our hybrid power system for drones, we realized that we could get the most range by designing our own airframe,” Curtis Foster, founder of Sonin Hybrid, explained in the press release.
"The next question was: for who? There were plenty of commercial drones out there, but very few were specifically manufactured for first responders," he continued.
"Well before the onset of the pandemic, we decided that police and firefighters needed this technology the most, and immediately set out to build the Recruit."
The company is currently in the process of launching beta programs with several police and fire departments across the U.S. The general public may have to get used to the thought of machines, such as robots and drones, being the first to the scene of an accident, a fire, or a crime.