Ascent Aerosystems recently showcased a sneak peek coaxial drone at Interdrone in Las Vegas, and a Youtuber named Bo Lorentzen was there to capture it. This truly one of a kind drone uses two counter rotating rotors, and it is a 2nd generation working prototype based off of Ascent’s Sprite drone, which was seen on Kickstarter in 2015. This drone may look like a flying water bottle from the future, but it is designed to be rugged enough for military use! Equipped with a swappable payload system, the Spirit drone is a compact and swarm capable drone. With its futuristic design and support for various cameras, this may very well be the world’s most unique UAV.
The new Spirit drone is made with a modular design, so payloads up to 2.2 lbs. can be equipped on it. A DJI X3 camera was spotted on it in the Youtube video, but other cameras like a DJI X5, 360, or thermal camera can also be attached on the Sprite drone. Located on the bottom of this UAV is a hook shaped carbon fiber gimbal guard designed to protect the payload. Landing this drone is as easy as crash landing it into the earth. Once the accelerometers detect the drone’s landing, the propellers retract, and the drone will just safely roll over. Hand catching is also another option for this drone’s landing. With a 500 gram payload, the Spirit drone can fly at an estimated 30 minutes. To get an idea of how the original Sprite model flies and lands, here’s some test footage:
What’s With the Shape?
The shape is designed for compact portability and durability. The Spirit drone can even be placed in something like a tube and airdropped from a plane. The drone can then be turned on midair. According to Bo Lorentzen’s interview, the Spirit drone is also capable of search and rescue missions and agriculture. Using swarm technology, multiple Spirit drones can work together after being launched off something like an airplane.
The estimated price of a base unit is around $4000, and that doesn’t include any sensors or payloads! Since it’s being made for industrial, military, and public safety purposes, only a select few might be willing to pay top dollar to use the Spirit drone as a portable DJI Inspire replacement.
The Spirit drone is still in development, so Ascent Aerosystem estimated another 12 months before it becomes available to buy.
The working prototype in Bo Lorentzen’s YouTube video features a future drone to lookout for. Even though it’s nearly double the price of some the top drones in We Talk UAV’s best drones list, the Spirit drone brings something new to the table. This unique drone may not be for everyone, but it will definitely stand out as the only one of its kind in the air!