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Now Introducing Drone "Swarm" Technology!

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

Drone Swarm Technology is Possible With One Pilot!

A Golden Eagle drone in flight piloted by a military individual.
4-Ship (media by JC)

Take Red Cat Holdings as one of the latest leaders in drone innovation. Who needs to settle for one drone when you can have a drone swarm technology of four, also known as 4-Ship and 4-Ship +? I know what you are thinking, “ They already use swarms of drones in several situations, such as carefully choreographed light shows like this.

A highly coordinated light show with pre-programmed drones.
Drone Light Show (media by JC)

What makes the 4-Ship genuinely unique is that only one pilot is necessary to fly these four units, providing a 360-degree experience throughout the filming process. The coordinated drone light show above comprises hundreds of dumbed-down drones programmed in advance to perform a highly choreographed pattern and light show. Nothing about this is real-time, and beyond the light show, these drones are only as good as their programming.

With four drones in formation, you can expect four individual video feeds on the controller, providing actionable footage immediately. Make a note of the TAC (Teal Air Control) display below:

The TAC display controller will help to coordinate the drone "Swarm".
One Controller to Command All (media by JC)

Who is Red Cat Holdings?

Red Cat Holding is the parent company to the makers of the drone swarm software and hardware technology.
Red Cat Holdings (media by Red Cat)

Red Cat provides products, services and solutions to the drone industry through its three wholly owned subsidiaries. Fat Shark Holdings is the leading provider of First Person View (FPV) video goggles to the drone industry. Rotor Riot, LLC is a leader in the sale of FPV drones and equipment, primarily to the consumer marketplace through its digital storefront located at Rotor Riot enjoys high visibility in social media through its Facebook page and its sponsorship of a professional drone racing team which has won numerous championships. Red Cat Propware is developing a Software-as-a-Solution (“SaaS”) platform to provide drone flight data analytics and storage, as well as diagnostic products and services.

Red Cat saw a need to take hold of the drone market and focus on this growing segment. In the case of “Swarm” drone capabilities, they knew it could be done and developed the drones and the software capable of achieving it using only one pilot. So now for the drone details:

The maximum speed of these drones will exceed 50mph, and they can be flown in winds as high as 30mph. Expect a total flight time of 50 minutes and a flight range of 2 miles.

Given the target market for these drones is multi-faceted with a focus on defense, government, and public safety, these drones come with “extras.” Expect to find thermal imaging, fully realized real-time A.I. detection of people and vehicles. (Many DJI drones have a less robust version of this). These drones are built to U.S. Army requirements with top-notch security and extreme stealthiness. Typical film quality comes in at 4K with 60 frames per second.

With the 4-Ship +, you can expect two other drones, bringing the total to six. The intent is to ensure the additional drones are constantly rotated throughout the process while prolonging flight time. Constant surveillance and reconnaissance are at the forefront of this package. The communication link between each drone and the drone operator is critical to ensuring the drones don’t collide when crisscrossing and traveling in the air.

A four drone coordinated flight as viewed from the ground.
Four Drones Flight Coordination (Media by JC)

The possibilities are endless, and within a few years, we will see the list of uses expand. I envision using this technology on construction or demolition sites to inspect infrastructure. How long before these are used in the film industry? All I can say is to keep the innovation coming!


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