As the automotive industry undergoes rapid evolution, Toyota, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world, has thrown its weight behind Japan’s Prodrone, a trailblazing company working on cargo-carrying drones capable of transporting loads up to 50kg over distances spanning 50km.
The Rise of Unmanned Cargo Aircraft
Although Amazon’s long-anticipated delivery drones have faced challenges in their development and deployment, the unmanned cargo aircraft sector is flourishing. A myriad of companies and start-ups across the globe are diligently working on perfecting their drone technology.
Toyota’s backing of Prodrone places the Japanese automotive giant at the forefront of this revolution, expanding its reach into a diverse array of cutting-edge mobility solutions.
These include autonomous public transport, personal micromobility devices, household and rehabilitation robots, and now, ‘flying couriers’.
Powering the Future of Cargo Drones
Jtekt, a subsidiary of Toyota located in Nagoya, will provide lithium-ion capacitors that store the electrical energy required to power these innovative drones. With a primary focus on developing and manufacturing drivetrain and steering components, bearings, and machining tools, Jtekt’s long-life capacitors offer a faster charging alternative to conventional batteries.
These capacitors will enable Prodrone and Toyota’s joint cargo drone to carry an impressive payload of 50kg for up to 50km, far surpassing the capabilities of Prodrone’s current PD6B-Type3 drone, which can lift 30kg.
Versatile Applications in Challenging Conditions
Designed for emergency supply delivery to remote or inaccessible areas, these drones have the potential to transport vital resources such as medicine and food.
Their applications extend beyond disaster relief, with possibilities including courier services, blood and organ transport, and equipping the drones with heavy cameras or laser scanners for specialized tasks.
Prodrone’s PD6B-Type3 drone has already received a level 3 flight license from the relevant Japanese ministry, signifying its high operational safety standards. It is currently being utilized for daily transport tasks in Nagano Prefecture. The drone’s compact, foldable design allows for easy storage and rapid deployment when needed.
Source: Toyota/Smarter Media