Japanese and American civilian drone manufacturers are preparing to converge in a new, without exaggeration, epoch-making competition. Pacific Drone Challenge: Whose Drone Will Be the First to Fly 7, 300 Km from Silicon Valley to the Coast of Japan? A prerequisite is no refueling, for one flight.
So far, there are two participants in the competition - the Japanese iRobotics and the American Sabrewing Aircraft Company, but the competition is completely open and has no time frame. This is the ideological legacy of the pioneers of long-range aviation, who a century ago sought to be the first to cross continents and oceans, to set new records for speed and range. Not so much a race as a new challenge to human technical and engineering genius.
There is a modest but significant precedent - last year a modified version of a serial quadrocopter crossed the English Channel in 72 minutes of continuous flight. Facebook's super drones are rumored to have been airborne for 90 days. But this does not mean that they are capable of a difficult flight over the largest ocean on the planet. Sabrewing Aircraft believes that the weather will not allow flying in a straight line all the time and the real path will be half a thousand kilometers longer, which is 45-50 hours in the air.
Sabrewing Aircraft Company concept - fixed-wing quad-rotor drone
Such a flight is the quintessence of the efforts of the creators of drones, they will have to collect and perfectly debug all the best that they have. The reward will not be the fact of a record, but the opening of new, very profitable horizons. When pilot Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic, the world saw the dawn of postal and passenger air travel between continents. Today we are talking about the same thing, but with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles.