A new drone designed by Russian researchers is the hulk of the quadcopter world - and can carry a 400-pound (181-kg) payload and fly for up to eight hours.The multi-rotor, autonomous drone, called SKYF, was designed with logistics and agribusinesses companies in mind to create a air freight platform to help business carry out tasks.The vertical take-off and landing drone has applications in areas such as the aerial application of pesticides and fertilizers, seed planting for forest restoration and emergency situations for food and medicine delivery.The drone, designed by Russian company ARDN technology, has a maximum flight speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43.5 miles per hour) and is 5.2 meters (17 feet) by 2.2 meters (7.2 feet).It can fly at a maximum height of 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) and has a positional accuracy of 30 centimeters (11.8 inches).According to ARDN, although it's fairly large in size, it can fold down and two can fit into a 20-foot (6-meter) cargo container.In addition, it required 10 minutes of setup before it can fly, ARDN says.Currently, prototypes of the drone are receiving encrypted instructions from a flight dispatch center.SKYF relies on gasoline-powered engines for lift and electric motors for stabilization to transport heavy loads up to 350 kilometers away (when carrying loads of 110 pounds, or 50 kg).Specifically, the drone uses the gasoline-powered engines for its two primary lift props, and uses all four sets of twin props with electric motors to help stabilize and steer it.According to ARDN, this dual-advantage separation of features is what allows the unmanned drone to to carry heavy loads.The patented, heavy-duty drone is also able to hover and move at low speeds, making it ideal for package delivery tasks.According to ARDN, it can operate under a wide range of weather conditions at any time of day.The drone's design is also modular, meaning versions can be modified for added fuel range and other features.SKYF it able to directly use the energy of its internal combustion engine without the need for an electrical hybrid system, enhancing its reliability and also driving down its price, maintenance costs and total weight, according to ARDN.ARDN says that the drone has applications in a wide range of fields, including delivering postal items to hard to reach places, delivering cargo to ships at sea and even weather management, for example extinguishing fires and preventing the accumulation of snow in fields.It's not yet clear how much the drone costs or when it will be released, but it could have a major impact on a wide range of industries.
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