Airrow, situated in Los Angeles, has stepped out with a creative product proposal at re:Mars.
The start-up manufactures a tool that can automatically remove and swap out drone payloads and batteries. With a gantry that moves along X- and Y-axes to transfer the battery from the charger to the drone and back, it functions similarly to a CNC machine or 3D printer.
Currently, the process is manual and involves human swapping and replacement. When scaling up, like with, say, drone-based food delivery operations, it can become a significant headache even though it is just marginally uncomfortable one to one.
The system is still in its infancy. At the event, the researchers demonstrated battery swaps; they are currently attempting to expand the method to payloads. A swap currently takes two minutes from start to finish, but Airrow is striving to reduce this time to about 30 seconds. For a tiny staff of currently five employees, one item at a time.
Military use is a significant potential client in addition to delivery uses. They do, after all, require drones and have vast funds for investing in technical advancements. Menachem Fehler, the company’s founder, and CEO tells me that discussions on prospective deployments with the Navy SEALs have already taken place. This might help keep drones in the air all the time. Airrow has also had conversations with a number of law enforcement agencies.
The solution is not inexpensive. For a package that also includes a drone, the business is now looking at a pricing point of between $80,000 and $100,000.
We’re still determining the optimal strategy at this point, but we want to provide the complete solution,” Fehler tells TechCrunch. To satisfy the unique requirements of a customer, the business will also modify the system to work with various drones.
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