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HomeDronesThe Modovolo Elevate. Lengthy flight time. Low, low worth. And Legos? 

The Modovolo Elevate. Lengthy flight time. Low, low worth. And Legos? 


As a drone operator and firm proprietor myself, that implies that I’m all the time looking for methods to extend my revenue margins for my drone enterprise.

A key a part of that is discovering one of the best drone on the lowest value, however that has all the time come on the expense of flight time. As a result of there are at the moment solely two choices. 

  • Choice 1: a less expensive business drone at about $12k (and above) to get any form of payload capability as much as 5 lbs and perhaps half-hour of flight time.  
  • After which Choice 2: a business drone that makes use of unique supplies (and designs) for rather more flight time – maybe over an hour – however I must fork over $50k to $100k+. 

Choice 1 has all the time been the manageable selection – regardless of all its inherent issues. Sure, I’ll purchase the additional batteries. I’ll fly backwards and forwards from the job website dropping time to swap batteries. I’ll monitor and cost batteries in my workplace and in my SUV – and anyplace I can discover a plug – in order that I’m not in panic mode on the job website frightened about whether or not I’ve sufficient batteries to finish the job. 

I’ll even purchase a number of drones and have carried out so recurrently.  Sure, I’m incurring prices (which additionally harm my revenue margins) nevertheless it nonetheless has been higher than the upfront value of Choice 2.  

The co-founders of Modovolo, Erik, CTO, and Justin, CEO, have skilled the identical ache. Erik is an aerospace engineer, and former USAF Captain, however most significantly for the final 5 years, he’s been a business drone pilot.  He noticed the identical points with Choice 1 and Choice 2 and he acknowledged the core issues with each. 

“I noticed that the explanation for brief flight occasions in drones is their fixed-hub design. There’s plenty of redundant and extreme construction. That provides plenty of weight.  And the propeller design and the the electrical motor RPMs are very inefficient. While you add these issues collectively, it interprets to brief flight time.” 

I’ve had related ideas. Drone design actually hasn’t advanced that a lot because the daybreak of drones over 15 years in the past.

However Erik went one step additional. 

Erik explains, “Why do I would like to purchase a brand new drone for every software?  It was driving me nuts. I simply spent $12k on a drone that would carry 5 lbs of payload solely to seek out out later that for an additional job the payload was 7 lbs. However this meant I wanted to spend one other $18k to get a drone only for that payload. It’s completely loopy.  Take into consideration if Dell required that we purchase one pc for phrase processing and one other pc for spreadsheets. We’d by no means comply with that. Why will we comply with this for drones?”  

I feel we’ve all had these related ideas nevertheless it’s not clear how you can repair all of those issues with present drone design. 

Justin feedback, “We knew we needed to re-think drone design from the underside up. An entire departure from what has been carried out so far. We additionally knew that, to get the associated fee down – means down – we would have liked to keep away from not solely costly supplies but additionally something that will complicate the manufacturing course of.” 

That is the place the hero enters the story, the bicycle wheel. 

Erik explains, “We constructed many, many, many prototypes and nothing was working. We weren’t getting the breakthrough lightness we needed in order that we might obtain superb flight occasions. That’s when the proverbial gentle bulb went off. I noticed that the bicycle wheel had all of the traits we would have liked. Gentle, robust, and rugged. It’s actually an underappreciated technological marvel and nobody had ever thought to make use of it in aerospace.” 

Picture Courtesy of Modovolo

That is additionally the place the Lego idea was born. 

Erik continues, “We subsequent realized that the bicycle wheel had one more profit. It meant that we have been not constrained to at least one design. You’ll be able to join them collectively in any configuration you need for the mission at hand. Want extra thrust to raise a heavier payload or want extra flight time? Simply add extra Elevate Pods.” 

Picture Courtesy of Modovolo

After 2 ½ years of growth and submitting a bunch of patents to guard all features of the Elevate Pod and the modularity idea, the crew got here out of stealth mode simply this March 2024 and launched a pre-order web site. 

“We’re within the means of getting our first manufacturing manufacturing cell arrange and we’re providing a restricted run of 200 pre-orders. These prospects will get assured manufacturing precedence, particular entry to our engineering crew, a restricted version modovolo t-shirt, and get to direct what sorts of Utility Pods we’ll construct first.” Justin states.

You’ll be able to go to modovolo.com to be taught extra and get your pre-order in the present day. 

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