The first experimental drone that Parallel Flight Technology (PFT) developed can transport 75 of pounds for one hour, 50 pounds for 2.7 hours, or 10 pounds for 6.4 hours. They are currently designing what they call a beta level aircraft that can haul 100 pounds for hours.
“We are building a new drone technology and it can be used for a lot of different things, but wildfire would really be the use case that was the impetus for me to even start on this project,” Joshua Resnick, the CEO of PFT told us in November. “We had a fire not far from our home in Santa Cruz, California in 2017 either right before or right after the Santa Rosa Fire, and it was after that that I started looking into the different ways that unmanned systems could be used in a wildfire effort. That’s when I started understanding that using unmanned systems to resupply firefighters could be very useful especially when manned aircraft could not fly due to smoke inversions or nighttime.”
Mr. Resnick, formerly the lead electrical engineer that helped design the Tesla all-electric battery-powered semi-trailer truck, is one of the three people that created PFT.
Instead of relying on batteries to drive the new drone’s propellers, the aircraft is powered by four hybrid power modules, each with a gas-electric combination. The 2-cycle gas engines work in combination with the electric motors, which provide very high peak thrust as well as redundancy. Larger aircraft in the PFT’s pipeline could be powered by other fuels, such as diesel or jet fuel.
In the video below Mr. Resnick begins talking about how it could be used on fires at 4:35.