From Wired's Danger Room blog: "Last month, an Australian company, Cyber Technology (WA) Pty Ltd, used a drone with ducted fans in an actual operation. Their Cyber Quad vertical take-off drone carried out an extended survey of an offshore drilling platform and an oil rig damaged by fire. The drone flew around, under and inside the two structures, which are joined by a gantry, as well as landing on them for a better look.

“The ability to land the CyberQuad on the various levels of the platform where the main damage occurred gave engineers and disaster control experts the ability to see the extent of the structural damage visually,” Andrea James, head of Communications at Cyber Technology told Danger Room.

The Cyber Quad can carry a high-definition video camera or sensors to detect specific gases, like industrial pollutants or chemical warfare agents. The brushless electric motor is quiet and does not produce sparks – important when investigating a damaged oil platform. Top speed is around 40 mph with a mission time of 35 minutes. But this can be extended to some hours, because the drone is able to “perch” on various landing points, and look around from there.

“The UAV pilot was able to land and move about on different levels, aiming the camera to get unique and vital viewpoints of the rig structures. This was not achievable using high definition devices from manned helicopters or boats,” said James."

Here's the very nice (albeit big) carrying case:

No price given. Presumably it's the "if you have to ask, you can't afford it" category.


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Comment by Morli on December 18, 2009 at 5:08am
Hmm, Looks cute with custom molded frames , I use other technique "If it fits so well inside Pelican case,!! It usually is "Don't ask category" :-)
Chris, I went through the spec sheet and performance envelope, will this quad be able to
1. lift the pan/tilt cam weighing 1 k.g!?
2. how they intend to place the cam without offsetting the C.G?
3. or will it be scaled for larger payloads?
BTW they have some cool looking airframes :)))
Comment by Xander on December 18, 2009 at 12:17pm sparks. Does that just mean they're brushless motors? Good PR I suppose, but kinda overselling the point. I think every quad uses brushless motors.
Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on December 18, 2009 at 1:28pm
It looks like it might well only take that camera. Probably just have tilt, thats all one needs on a quadrotor. Looks very pretty tho....
Comment by Chris Mounkley on December 18, 2009 at 1:30pm
Hi Morli, in answer to your questions, 1) there are currently two versions of the ducted quad rotor, the mini and maxi, the mini will comfortably carry a 400gram pay load with the maxi carrying an 800 gram payload, on the maxi we carry a stabilised 12 mega pixel HD video cam plus a stabilised fly cam used for FPV flying, on the mini we carry a fly cam for FPV plus a multi sensor gas detection system. Both aircraft use a back to pilot live video and telemetry link.
2) good weight distribution is required on the heavier pay load, however the flight stabilisation system is c of g tolerant to a point.
3) yes the aircraft is scalable with a larger variant being worked on at present.

Xander, As we use the quad for gas detection it needs to be spark safe, in fact, "is it spark safe is one of the most FAQ's. and yes we use brushless motors.
Comment by Jack Crossfire on December 18, 2009 at 1:37pm
Avatar has every quad rotor startup pitching their product now that they're a phenomenum.

Comment by Giles Barton-Owen on December 18, 2009 at 1:38pm
Brilliant film...Now all we need is soul control support
Comment by Marty on December 18, 2009 at 1:58pm
Another interestiing point is that this appears to be an instance of commercial operation of a UAV within Australia. I was under the impression that this was essentially impossible with the current regulations.
Comment by Chris Mounkley on December 18, 2009 at 2:27pm
Hi Marty, the flights were done as part of our internal testing of the airframe and application. we were very lucky to be able to conduct these tests in a real time application.
Comment by Mogly (Umesh Tharanath) on December 21, 2009 at 2:00pm
How about this ??
Hiller Flying Platform
The Hiller Flying Platform was a unique VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) machine developed back in the 1950's by Hiller Helicopter. It was a circular ducted fan unit that utilized 2 counter-rotating propellers. A pilot would stand on top of the unit and by leaning and shifting his body weight he could cause the platform to fly in any direction. Includes patent copy and photos. Much of our flying jetpack development was based on this unit. #HILL info-$10.00

Comment by Hai Tran on October 22, 2011 at 9:38am

I know a guy who owns one of these CyberQuads.  The price for one is $30,000 and from what I can see (flight modes, startup procedure, controls), I strongly suspect it is actually a Mikrokopter with a fancy frame.


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