Business

Festo

Disrupted Drones

Safe drones in all shapes & sizes

From boxy flying machines to robotic eels, drones come in all different shapes and sizes. German engineering company and serial innovators Festo have devised yet another design to add to the pack. Their FreeMotionHandling model is essential a giant helium filled ball. The ethereal sphere is surrounded by an ultralight carbon ring containing six propellers. Because the mechanics are protected by the frame, humans can interact safely with the drone whilst in motion. FreeMotionHandling is controlled by indoor GPS, and has two on board cameras to monitor surroundings.

The spherical drone has potential applications in retail, manufacturing and warehouses in general. It could also be integral to future office spaces, sending supplies to and from colleagues. At the moment, FreeMotionHandling is confined to indoor spaces. However, once the drone is able to carry heavier loads and function in outside environments, it could also be used within construction and the emergency services to aid humans working at dangerous heights. Whether the helium ball will be suitable for the outside world is yet to be seen. Even so, it’s another example of how drones are set to become a regular part of our lives.


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