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Need a robot to grab something like a hawk? Prodrone has you covered

You know what drones are missing? A giant pair of grasping arms to make them truly resemble the robotic birds of prey of our nightmares.

Fortunately, our nightmares no longer have to be confined to night time, however, since Prodrone, Japan’s leading commercial and industrial drone maker, has unveiled its new PD6B-AW-ARM model large-format drone — complete with two internally developed robotic arms, allowing it to carry out a wide variety of tasks.

And, despite kidding around, it looks pretty handy.


“The idea for a dual-robot arm, heavy-payload drone came from the vision that commercial and industrial drones can go beyond being the flying cameras that are so common today,” Fred Borda, co-founder of Aerial Innovation, a Silicon Valley consulting firm focused on the advancement of commercial unmanned aerial in the U.S. and Japan, told Digital Trends, speaking on behalf of Prodrone.

“They can be a pair of hands to perform tasks that are too dangerous or difficult for humans to do,” he continued. “The team wanted to share this vision with the world and also showcase what their engineers are capable of — so they went after this challenge.”

Examples of applications for Prodrone’s new creation include carrying payloads of up to 22 pounds, cutting cables, turning dials, flicking switches, dropping lifesaving buoys, and retrieving hazardous materials. It was first shown off at last week’s InterDrone, the International Drone Conference and Exposition, in Las Vegas.

While there is no word yet on when exactly it will be taking to the skies, Borda hinted that there could be use-cases before too long. “Prodrone’s business model today is providing contract R&D and manufacturing of drones for large industrial companies,” he said. “[The company works] with innovative companies to solve difficult problems with drones keeps them ahead of the curve.”

In other words, if you are running a company and are in need of the drone equivalent of an eagle, give Prodrone a call.

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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