A Canadian company has created one of the toughest, most robust drones ever.
The sleek-looking DX-3, recently unveiled by The Sky Guys, is one tough cookie. The new product promises to change the drone industry, featuring specs like a 1,500-kilometre range of use, over 24 hours of continuous flight time, the ability to take off and land without a runway and the power to withstand a number of extreme weather conditions.
Oh, and if that’s not impressive enough, the DX-3 offers live data processing — and it can learn.
We’ll say it again: This is a long-distance drone that has the ability to learn. Can you hear the Terminator soundtrack in your head yet?
“Yes, the more data it collects, the smarter it gets, so it starts to learn what to look for,” says Sky Guys CEO and founder Adam Sax. “Artificial Intelligence in general is a very scary thing. And having drones understand and learn from it? The future’s a little freaky, for sure.”
Sax, who’s in his early thirties, launched The Sky Guys in 2015, and now the company has two offices — in Oakville, Ont., and Vancouver — with an Alberta location opening sometime this year. The brainy CEO started his first tech company when he was 13, so he’s always been interested in the intersection of technology and business.
The world first heard about the DX-3 when the drone was released at the International UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) Show in early December, which took place in Toronto. Now, Sax says the drone’s unique specs have led to interest from a number of governments and companies from around the world, including inquiries from France, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The DX-3, developed via the Sky Guys-affiliated Defiant Labs, can be used for a variety of purposes, including inspecting oil and gas pipelines, examining power and utility lines, helping with disaster relief, patrolling remote highways and roads and adding an additional level of security and surveillance at border crossings.
By now, you probably realize that drones can be utilized for more than just awesome-looking travel videos on YouTube. And this model is likely out of the price range for many travel vloggers, since Sax says it’ll be priced somewhere between $300,000 and $500,000, depending on the customizations ordered by clients.
The Sky Guys are taking pre-orders for the DX-3 now, and they expect to deliver the first batch of them — likely 15 units or less, guesses Sax — by the end of the year.
One of the biggest challenges that the DX-3 is facing in Canada right now is line-of-sight regulations. At this point, commercial operators must be able to visually see the drone at all times — which means that clients won’t be able to truly utilize the long-range capabilities of the DX-3. Thankfully, these sorts of rules have gotten relaxed in other countries, and Canada will likely do the same thing.
“Next year, new regulations are coming out,” says Sax. “We’re working closely with Transport Canada right now, in terms of getting into testing next quarter. We expect that out of line-of-sight operations in rural areas will come into play in 2017.”
In the end, Sax says he’s committed to pushing the limits of the drone industry. This is the future we’re talking about, after all.
“We’re investing in the next two years, and we believe that that is ultimately where this provides a solution. So, we’re taking a risk by doing that. But we truly believe that that’s the future of the technology. You have to take risks.”
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