Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Yamaha's RMAX non-military UAV

RMAX mounted a liquid-cooled 2-stroke, 246cc, horizontally-opposed twin-cylinder, crankcase reed valve intake engine rated at 21 hp.
The absolute base-model airframe suitable for agriculture, with a single GPS and the ability to fly only within sight, and no more than five metres above the ground costs US$86,000. The Aerial Photography version can fly up to 100 metres above the ground and costs between US$150,000 and US$230,000. There's a flight research model specced for universities with manual only flight mode, which sells for US$120,000 and none of the base stations and other niceties.

Then there's the 'hamburger-with-the-lot': the fully autonomous R-Max package which includes the ground station, antennas, computers, monitors and two complete autonomous airframes and a four camera system. The price tag is US$1,000,000.00.
The completely autonomous version enables the 'pilot' to watch what's happening from all four cameras at once while the RMAX goes about the flight plan it has been programmed with from the controlling computer. If the operator sees something they want to look at closely, they can override the plan to get closer and then resume the original flight plan or program a new one.

Operating at 10% the hourly rate of a manned helicopter means a whole range of new applications can be found for this new airborne capability.

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