Kawasaki trials cargo VTOL and robotic ground crew

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Kawasaki has demonstrated how robotic systems can load and unload its heavy-lift autonomous cargo drone, eliminating the need for humans to be exposed to the drone’s large blades.

The company announced the successful completion of proof-of-concept testing of its unmanned vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, the K-Racer X1 drone, at the end of 2021.

Able to transport a 100kg payload, the VTOL is equipped with a delivery robot loading and unloading mechanism. The delivery robot used together with the unmanned VTOL is designed to achieve smooth, stable operations even on rough and bumpy roads.

The solution has been developed utilising Kawasaki’s knowledge in robotics and technologies behind the off-road capabilities of its motorcycles and side-by-sides. For its power unit, the aircraft has a Ninja H2R motorcycle supercharged engine built by Kawasaki Motors.

Kawaski’s PoC aimed to showcase that unmanned robots can load and unload its autonomous cargo drone for use cases within the logistics sector

PoC testing was conducted with the aim of helping to solve issues such as labour shortages within the logistics industry. The company is working towards a delivery operation solution that requires very limited human-worker involvement.

Furthermore, Kawaski added the PoC showcases a rapid cargo transport system that is not affected by road-traffic conditions or topographic features such as seas, mountains and rivers, and reliable logistics services to locations deep in the mountains or on remote islands.

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