One of my favorite things is finding crazy stuff on the internet and see if it is real or fake. Besides, have you ever discussed with somebody can a drone lift a human, and you didn’t know the exact answer? And if so, for how long could that drone carry that person? This is one of the questions which is good to know if you are in the world of drones. So let’s research this question in detail.
So Can a Drone Lift a Human? Yes, there are drones that are capable of lifting and carrying a human. These types of drones are called “heavy-lifting drones” and they have great power and special motors. They are used for professional purposes and are not intended for commercial use.
When we talk about heavy-lifting drones (UAVs) that are used for industrial or military environments, they are primarily designed to carry extra weight while flying. Today we can see that manufacturers already built drones for all kind of purposes.
Now came the time where we can see a drones that lift a person and fly it around. The first such a recorded event came at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. The drone that has accomplished this was Ehang 184. In the end we need to take 2 major factors; hobby drones are manufactured for sports, aerial photography and having fun while heavy-lifting (professional) drones are made to carry payloads and other things that they are design for.
Types of Heavy-lifting (Professional) Drones
Today in the world of drones, the technology and features that these drones possess are breathtaking. Thing that has been the biggest problem so far was a limitation of batteries that drones had, but now that the boundary has been moved, the future for drones looks bright. The first such drones are presented in the military during World War II. Now, industrial applications are being developed that will revolutionize a lot of things.
Augmented Aerigon Drone If you are looking for the best and most expensive camera drone in the world, look no further. The power and control the AERIGON provides for challenging maneuvers are incredible. Shooting 4K at 1000 FPS, the Phantom Flex4K is undeniably a powerful piece of equipment for filmmakers.
The battery charging time for this drone is 45 min per 6 batteries, but flight time is around 7-15 minutes. It have Signal range up to 1000m, the weight is 6,4kg/14.1lbs.
Griff 300 The drone company Griff Aviation has launched the Griff 300 model UAV that can carry around 500 lbs (226kg) of payload weight. Griff 300 is an 8-propeller UAV with a very high power. Another interesting thing about this drone is that can sustain 45 minutes of airtime.
When we consider the weight that some drones need to carry, a typical professional camera weighs about 2 kg, and these are the minimum requirements that professional drones must satisfy. Griff Aviation’s UAVs will be priced from around $250,000 but this price is not final, it depend upon the customer’s requirements.
Skyf Drone This Russian “hulk” drone holds the Guinness World Record for the heaviest weight to be lifted by a remote-controlled multicopter with a 64 kg (134 lb) payload in 2016.
It can lift weights of up to 250 kg (550lbs), with additional options where it can lift up to 400 kg, while the reach it can pass is 350 km (220 mls) and it can fly in the air up to 8h. The SKYF drone was able to do the right thing in terms of aerodynamics and utilized the maximum potential that can be achieved in aerodynamics.
Ehang184 This drone was designed to carry and fly a person around, from point A to point B. One of the features this drone have is 54 motors. Ehang 184 has the ability to carry one person for 23 minutes at an average speed of 62mph (100km/h).
One interesting thing about Ehang 184 is that it only take about 2 to 4 hours to recharge the batteries for another run. It can cruise at speeds of up to 6 to 2 miles per hour and has a ceiling height of 11,000 ft (3352m) above sea level.
The Physics Of Heavy-Lifting Drones
We have to consider that there is a number of factors that affect the drone’s payload capacity. The most important among them are the motor power, the size and number of propellers, type of battery and the weight of the drone.
One of the factors we need to remember is that the propeller thrust should be twice the total weight of the drone and the payload. Drones also need to know how to deal with wind, air pressure and moisture in the air which can drastically influence your drone.
Drones that need a big lift requirement also needs a battery with a bigger capacity, which also adds weight to the drone. Heavy lift drones beside extra weight that they need to carry also need a strong and durable drone frame which is heavier than the standard lightweight construction of the hobby drones.
There is also one very important thing besides adding the payload to the drone, and that is take-off weight or capacity that drone must use to take off which we must take into consideration.
Take-off weight is usually the heftiest capacity the drone can handle for it to fly without any complications. Because there are still a couple of factors that are here like battery life, and control of the drone in the air while carrying the payload.
First thing you should know is to understand the basics of drone flight. What makes a drone hover? Drone can technically have any even number of rotors instead of just four. When we talk about rotor-based drones, we need to know that rotor’s main job is to take air from above and push that air down at some speed.
The mass of the air depends on both the air’s density and the size of the rotors. When drones have the bigger rotors, that means they have have a greater mass of air.
How Much Can a Drone Lift?
Asking the question how much weight can a drone lift is much like asking how fast car can go. When we talk about the world of drones (UAVs), the maximum weight that a drone can carry is expressed as “payload”. So theoretically, a drone can lift any amount of weight no matter its size rotor. There are 2 limitations that drones have.
First is the maximum air speed that is around 40m/s, and the second important thing is if drone had 1,000 Watts of power it wouldn’t be able to fly for very long. For now the world record of weight that drone lifted was 400kg (882 lbs). When we look at different types of drones, we notice that specifications and functions can vary greatly from one model to another, which will surely impact the maximum weight they can lift and transport.
By having multiple rotors you provide stability to the drone, which in some situations can be useful to keep the onboard technology safe. Also if you are interested to learn more, read my article about 15 Best Heavy Lift Drones in the World.
The Laws And Regulations About Drones Carrying People
For many people it will take years to afford heavy-lifting drones like this. But the main problem for passenger drones is that flying them is currently banned in many countries in the world.
Similar to hobby drones the passenger drone can take off, land and fly automatically with a single click in addition, it includes an automatic safe landing system should one of the propellers or murders fail during flight.
Ehang 184 is passenger drone that requires no license or previous flying experience. If you are the kind of person who would like to know more about drone regulation: International Regulation of Non-Military Drones is a great book that you can find on Amazon.
We also need to know that pilot licence is very expensive currently, and it’s more likely that future drones will be operated fully autonomus. Ehang 184 has passed the tests with several succesful autonomous flights, but it still have no guarantee from authorities for obtaining the license at this moment.
When we look at it all together, flying and lifting people in drones is a very exciting development and there is still a lot of potential to keep us even more interested in future technology. Today the car is the most common means of transport from point A to point B, but the future is in the air!
Related Article: Can a Drone Lift a Dog?
Drone Lifting a Human while Snowboarding
YouTuber Casey Neistat recorded a spectacular adrenaline video on his latest holiday, with a custom-made drone that’s capable of lifting and flying around an human on a snowboard. The drone is specifically designed and customized for the video that Neistat recorded over the course of a year after he was unable to find any commercially available drones for this project.
This huge drone have the massive 16-rotor machine and it’s given the weight it needs to be able to carry. In this attempt presented by Neistat we can see one-man drones capable of carrying people from point A to point B which was not possible before.
In this example where Neistat demonstrate actual human-carrying drone, he noted that Samsung sponsored this video. He used Samsung’s Gear 360 camera which also appeared a couple of times in the video in addition for being used for some footage.
How Drones React When They Loses its Payload During a Flight?
Imagine what would happen to the drone that is carrying a payload of about 50 kg and that payload suddenly brake. The payload would certainly fall to the ground and the drone would suddenly lose control and jump up.
We all know the basic law of physics that action is associated with reaction, and this rule applies to a drones also if they loses payload. It should be noted that the drone will jump abruptly when it loses its payload, because the motor speed is very high at that moment. After that, the smart system that is embedded in drone will react and the speed of motor will reduce immediately.
After we’ve all gone in detail we can see that technology is developing at tremendous speed, so the world of drones. Today on the market, we have a couple of drones that are designed for lifting and carrying a Human, and this types of drones are called “Professional Drones” or heavy drones. This professional drones as main goal is to carry extra weight while flying.
As the drone technology advanced rapidly, the question is only of time when drones will be carrying people form point A to B. But for now, it will take many years for you and me to buy and fly a drone like this. When we look closer, flying people in drones is a very exciting development and this keeps us even more interested in future technology.
For now, we have to be satisfied with our conventional transport such as cars, buses or metros to get us from A to B. I would love to hear your opinions in the comments below.