Drones are becoming so popular that one hundred of them were even recently hovering around the opera house in a flying flock formation at Sydney’s Vivid Festival.
The type and diversity of user keeps growing, however the design of the drones is remaining stagnant.
Often drone design is a combination of a technical package and being supported in flight by fixed position roters.
The algorithms in the drones are getting better, however drone pilots still need skill in order to safely take off and land their craft.
Next generation drones such as the Lily have considered this by integrating folding blades and the ability to ‘throw to launch’.
This still leaves opportunity to design something for the market with all these landing issues. Landing on the ground poses risks as rocks and sticks can fly up and damage the roter or nearby observers.
Some drones offer a guarding or grill protection of the props however this has disadvantages in terms of craft weight and impact on flight time.
Using a systems thinking design Clandestine Design Group (CDG) realised that a solution would come from challenging the fixed roter nature of typical drone design.
They worked through a range of solutions based on folding roters, with the preferred solutions being developed called the Jupiter TD- 01.
CDG, Design Director Neil Davidson said the concept is a miniature observational drone that is spherical in nature.
“To launch Jupiter TD-01 the user can simply throw it in the air like a ball where the system activates by rotating the three high powered 80mm props and motors into stable and safe flight mode well off the ground," said Neil.
"Jupiter TD-01’s tri roter configuration allows speed and agility and whilst the high-definition camera can rotate 360 degrees independent of the craft’s flight path.
"This drone’s unique build provides further safety benefits to both itself and the user.
"For example in a crash scenario the system will fold away its roters, to ball mode in preparation for impact, where it will bounce and roll, reducing its risk for damage.
"These same systems can be used for landing where Jupiter TD- 01 can hover slightly above the user until catch mode is activated."
Powered down in its ball format also provides robust and easy storage in backpacks and bags.
The drone looks simplistic when it’s all closed up in its ball shape but underneath hides the tri-blade design that looks like Jupiter’s rings – hence the name.
The commercialisation of this drone could be a game-changer and applicable to many industries.