Flying robots are profoundly changing a number of industries – in particular, the mining, surveying, construction, and infrastructure industries. However, certain factors are still keeping potential users from adapting drones to their operations. For example, quadcopters can cover only limited distances because they are highly energy intensive. Currently available fixed-wing planes, on the other hand, are able to travel longer distances, but they are challenging to maneuver autonomously and require runways, catapults, nets, and large open spaces.
At Wyss Zurich, engineers, scientists, and programmers have developed a completely new aircraft design that solves these problems: the WingtraOne drone.
The WingtraOne project evolved from years of research conducted at the Autonomous Systems Lab at ETH Zurich by leaders in the field of flying robots. This novel type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) combines the advantages of a traditional airplane and a helicopter. As with an airplane, the wing generates lift in forward flight, making it possible to cover longer distances with heavier payloads. In addition, it has vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities.
Because even untrained personnel can easily handle this device, WingtraOne drones can be widely adopted in the industry. This disruptive aircraft design dramatically improves surveying efficiency and reduces related costs, making it an extremely attractive tool for mines, land surveying offices, and architecture, engineering, and construction firms.