Heavy lift drones are unmanned aircraft with the capability to carry and operate heavy equipment such as cameras, thermal and LiDAR sensors as well as military, commercial and agricultural payloads.
Heavy lift UAV construction materials include carbon fiber and aluminium. Durable and lightweight, they are the foundation of robust aerial systems capable of autonomous flight in extreme environments. Heavy payload drones are designed to balance payload and battery weight constraints with flight endurance and significant lift capacity.
The nature of the tasks required of these drones, such as surveillance, filming, surveying and inspection, lend themselves to multirotor drones with VTOL and hover-in-place capabilities. Multirotors such as heavy lift quadcopters, heavy lift hexacopters and octocopters feature technology that is simple to assemble and deploy, alongside large payload capacities and extended flight times. Plug-and-play payload options may include vision systems that enable both day and night flight.
Many drones designed to lift heavy weights can be quickly reconfigured to perform multiple roles.
Military applications for heavy lift tactical drones include ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance), weaponized payloads, and equipment delivery to areas too dangerous for manned flight.
Commercial uses for heavy lift multirotors include inspection and surveying as well as professional mapping applications and aerial cinematography. Capable of safely and steadily carrying professional cameras and imaging equipment, these types of drones are used extensively by filmmakers and broadcasters to deliver impressive footage in all weather conditions.
Often used in construction and pipeline inspection, industrial heavy lift drones can carry sensors to detect gas and fuel leaks, thermal and infrared cameras used for inspection and mapping, weather sensors, survey equipment and LiDAR sensors.
Heavy payload industrial drones are also used for solar and wind farm inspection and security details, as well as by rail networks and communication providers.
Heavy payload drones are used extensively as agricultural drones, saving time and money by undertaking crop spraying and monitoring, as well as assisting in harvest planning and using hyperspectral cameras to detect damage to crops, soil deficiencies and other factors impacting growth.
Drones capable of carrying heavy loads are becoming increasingly popular as cargo drones, used to deliver medical and healthcare supplies such as medicines, blood and vaccines as well as emergency equipment and supplies during search and rescue and disaster relief operations. Heavy lift delivery drones can also be used to transport goods and mail to and from remote communities, being both faster and less expensive than transitional modes of transportation.
Heavy lift drone motors need to generate a great deal of power in order to achieve takeoff. Generally, larger, heavier drones incorporate brushless motors since they can carry the additional electronics weight. Innovative counter-rotating drone motors are also being chosen for these types of drones, capable of delivering more thrust with great efficiency than standard, single rotating motors.
Often constructed of carbon fiber that is lighter than plastic and offers improved flight performance, heavy lift drone propellers carefully balance length and pitch. Typically, heavy lift multirotor blades are long with less pitch, focusing on stability over speed and easily capable of carrying the additional weight associated with longer blades.
Gimbals for heavy lift drones are designed to accommodate a wide range of cameras, sensors and payloads, providing seamless operations alongside quick swap functionality. Designed to facilitate the practical uses these types of drone are suited to, such as survey and inspection, stabilized drone gimbals are crucial for seamless filming, often featuring durable, robust construction with secure data link integration and multiple camera and imaging payloads.