A competition held in early September has proven the transportation of high-value cargo by drones to be both safe and time-saving: a UAV flight reached the destination in only 30 to 40 minutes, where an off-road vehicle would have taken 4 to 6 hours to get there. These competitions change mean a lot to the drone market.
This particular contest was organized by the #AeroNet association in partnership with Zhukovsky Institute. Participants had to transport cargo imitating oil samples. For many oil companies, delivering samples from a rig to a laboratory may present a problem — often there are no roads, and the results take time, a perfect scenario for a competition like this. Surrounding forests and tall rigs further complicated the conditions.
Seven companies took part, with NPP NTT taking the crown. Their drone showed the best payload capacity, delivering 5 kilograms of cargo over 14 km distance at a 120-meter altitude.
Along with fame, the winners get a chance to secure a cargo contract. They will perform trial flights at one of the facilities of Gazprom Neft, an oil arm of the Russian natural gas giant Gazprom.
«We will analyze the field trial results to work out the best deployment scenarios, technologies, and regulatory solutions, said Gleb Babintsev, head of #AeroNet association. At the moment, almost 100% of the drone market is in collecting and processing data. This competition signifies the market transitioning to the next level, which we call #AeroNext.»
Sergey Zhukov, the #AeroNet movement leader, thinks such competitions stimulate light drone designers to improve the specs. «Competitions allow you to compare your notes with other market players without any government spending.»