California-based startup Impossible Aerospace says that their new battery configuration can allow drones to fly for two hours! The company says it simply rethought the way drones are designed and built and notes that its first drone, which is about the size of a DJI Phantom, can last up to two hours in the air, far longer than the 20- to 40-minute flight times offered by most other consumer or professional solutions.
It’s the kind of advancement that could radically change the businesses and industries that already rely on drones to get things done. And despite coming out of the shadows for the first time this week, the company’s CEO Spencer Gore has already set his sights on a far bigger target: the airline industry.
Impossible’s solution for squeezing more battery life — and, therefore, more flight time — out of a similarly sized package is relatively simple: instead of relying on a separable battery pack that gets snapped on or slotted into the drone, all the individual battery cells are tucked throughout its structure. The battery is not just in the drone; it basically makes up the entire thing. This means more battery cells can be used, but there’s also less non-battery weight to offset, which leads to longer flight times.
The final version Impossible Aerospace arrived at is a quadcopter that looks similar to others on the market, but it has between four to six times the total flight time that’s typically possible. Its performance doesn’t suffer, either. The US-1 tops out at 42 miles per hour and has a range of nearly 50 miles. The company is selling the drone bare for $7,500 or with a thermal camera package made by Flir for $10,000. (The drone fitted with the camera is only rated for about an hour and 10 minutes of flight time, according to Impossible Aerospace’s website.) Gore says he expects the majority of customers to be from the fields of private security, police, fire and rescue, or research.