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Awesome new 'drone in a box' system can launch, land, and recharge itself autonomously

A bit like a twenty-first century “jack in the box,” a bold new all-in-one drone solution takes the form of a box, which opens up to act as a launch pad for a drone, capable of carrying out autonomous missions, before returning to its home to have its batteries automatically swapped out.

It’s the product of excellently-named startup Airmada, and promises to take the current meaning of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to the next level.

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“The Ground Station enables commercial drone applications at a fraction of the cost,” Airmada’s business development manager Jacqueline Khoury told Digital Trends. “It is the last essential element to enable the widespread use of drones. This Ground Station allows for autonomous drone applications in the commercial space. It eliminates the need for a human operator to [act as the] pilot.”

In terms of possible applications, Khoury said the company’s new drone offers the added benefit of 24/7 possible operation.

“The main application for this technology is on-demand surveillance for CIP (Critical Infrastructure Protection),” she continued. “In the face of safety and security risks of industrial physical assets and infrastructure, industrial operators need better data – situational and spacial awareness to make better calculated decisions. With a drone on standby, the Ground Station provides the possibility to automatically deploy a drone flight attain situational awareness. It addresses time sensitive on-demand missions, as well as recurring events that need to be addressed.”

This could make it an invaluable tool for everything from agriculture and construction to deliveries: basically any area that would benefit from scaling its drone operations, while cutting costs.

In terms of availability, Khoury said that Airmada is currently working with a number of groups requiring on-demand security surveillance. “We foresee the adoption of our stations in several industries moving forward,” she noted.