DJI FlyCart 30, the drone for long-distance emergency deliveries

With a share of close to 80% of the world marketDJI is synonymous with consumer drones for professionals and enthusiasts. The Chinese company founded in 2006 by Frank Wang is not resting on its laurels and, in recent days, has announced the FlyCart 30, a brand new and much larger model than the others, designed for long-distance deliveries. Characterised by an out-of-the-ordinary load capacity of up to 30 kg in the dual-battery configuration and up to 40 kilograms by activating the energy-saving mode with a single battery, it has a load compartment with a volume of 70 litres in the Cargo version, using weight sensors to maintain balance during flight.

The dimensions of the FC30 drone are significant: 280 x 308.5 x 94 centimetres, with a 4-axis configuration, eight carbon fibre propellers and dual rotors for each arm. Capable of flying at up to 20 m/s, it has a range of 16 km with dual batteries, which is halved if only one battery is used. There is also the option of using the winch mode, which involves transporting loads by means of a winch crane, useful for deliveries in areas with no landing space. In this case, the drone configuration includes a 20-metre cable that can retract manually or automatically at a speed of 0.8 m/s, supporting a maximum weight of 40 kg. 

A drone that goes where others cannot

The transmission between controller and drone is based on the DJI O3 system and is guaranteed up to 20 km. In addition, there is also the Dual Operator mode, which allows for a one-click transfer of control of the drone between two pilots in different locations. Equipped with a coating to protect against debris and weather, the FC30 is a drone designed to go where others cannot: mountainous, rural and more generally inhospitable places that are difficult to reach except by helicopter.

It can also do this because it can fly in extreme temperatures, including between -20 ° C and 45 ° C, using its self-heating batteries. The maximum flight altitude it can reach is 6000 metres, but with a 30 kg load, it can reach 3000 metres. When taking off without a load, it can fly 28 km on a single charge and has a maximum wind speed resistance of 12 m/s.

Before each departure, the FC30 activates a series of safety functions to assess the feasibility of flight routes in relation to environmental conditions and ensure safety before take-off by means of audio-visual instructions and delaying the start of the propellers. There are dual Phased Array radar and binocular vision systems for in-flight visibility to detect obstacles in various directions in all weather conditions, day and night. Thanks to the integrated ADS-B signal receiver warning, the DJI drone is able to detect the presence of manned aircraft in the vicinity. In the event of an emergency, an onboard parachute will open to land the drone in a stable manner, protecting both people and property on the ground.

Crucial in the operation of the FC30 are the software, in particular DJI DeliveryHub and DJI Pilot 2. The former is the system that plans the delivery area, organises operations and monitors the status of the drone, including centralised management of team resources and data collection and analysis. It also supports live streaming via the drone’s integrated high-resolution stabilised FPV camera. DJI Pilot 2 does the other part of the work, with manual flight optimisation, real-time flight status monitoring and load conditions. In the event of extreme weather conditions or other anomalies, Pilot 2 will warn operators of possible hazards, providing information on alternative landing sites.

Intended for the global market; at the moment, DJI has not announced when it will arrive and what the price of the FlyCart 30 will be. However, there is no doubt that it is another significant milestone in the company’s history and, more relevantly, for the evolution of drones as, compared to Amazon’s drone for delivering goods purchased online, it offers an effective alternative (pending field trials) for transport in the mountains and for emergency deliveries to help those in need. It is precisely the latter that the Chinese company highlighted during the announcement of the new drone by Christina Zhang, Senior Director for Corporate Strategy at DJI: “We are convinced that FlyCart 30 will become a reliable solution for aerial delivery, solving complex ground transportation problems efficiently, economically and, above all, safely.”

Alessio Caprodossi is a technology, sports, and lifestyle journalist. He navigates between three areas of expertise, telling stories, experiences, and innovations to understand how the world is shifting. You can follow him on Twitter (@alecap23) and Instagram (Alessio Caprodossi) to report projects and initiatives on startups, sustainability, digital nomads, and web3.