Two weeks ago, the world’s first fully autonomous drone was launched into space from the Zappias orbital launch pad.
The new Zappios drone is a 2,500kg device weighing more than 10 tons.
It’s the first fully automated drone to be launched into orbit, according to the company.
“The world’s most successful drone is being launched from ZappiAstraZeneca’s orbital launch facility in the Canary Islands,” Zappiacos spokesperson Anastasios Vassilakis told Bloomberg in an interview.
“We’re extremely proud to be a part of this historic event.”
The drone, called Zappius, has a range of up to 5,200km (3,600 miles), and has been able to autonomously navigate for over 20 minutes, according Vassilekas.
It can also autonomously fly to the point of launch, and is capable of operating autonomously on a runway or even on a trackless surface.
It also has the ability to be remotely operated from a location on Earth.
“We’re working on the software, so you can set up a launch from your mobile phone, from your laptop, from anywhere,” Vassiles said.
“You can send it on autopilot, or you can launch it from the ground.”
The Zappiam drones have been designed to perform multiple missions at once, but Vassiliakis says they are only intended to fly autonomously for about half of that time.
The first two missions, which took place in June and July, involved a pair of Zappies that went into orbit and landed at different locations around the world.
The third and final launch, which was scheduled for July 1, was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
“This is the third flight that we’ve done with this drone, and it was one of the most difficult ones,” VASSiliakis said.
The drone has also successfully landed at a range in the Atlantic Ocean of 1,800km, and the company has since sent its drone back to Earth for a second landing, with the aim of making sure it lands safely.
“It was the safest drone we’ve ever launched,” Vasiliakis added.
“It did not crash, it did not lose control.”
The company is also working on software to make it more efficient.
“There’s no doubt about the drone’s potential, and we want to make sure we get it right,” Vaziliakis told Business Insider.
“This is not a new technology, it’s an extremely promising product that we have to make as quickly as possible.”
The launch of the drone took place at a time when a number of countries have been debating whether or not to follow suit, and Zappium said that its drones could be ready for the market by 2018.
“Zappia is ready to take the lead in the development of autonomous drone platforms in 2019,” the company said in a statement.
“The Zapps drone is an innovative, highly capable platform for commercial and military use.”
The company also announced that it has signed a contract to manufacture its drones, and that it will begin working with companies to supply parts.
“In the coming months we’ll be working with manufacturers and suppliers to supply the Zapps platform to them to enable them to start manufacturing in 2019 with us,” Zapsicas said.
“During this period, we will also work with government agencies to establish a pilot programme for the supply of autonomous Zapps, as well as the development and manufacturing of additional parts.”
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