The md4-1000 is a miniaturized VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft manufactured by Microdrones GmbH. It is a high end rotary wing UAV with outstanding capabilities that place it amongst the most efficient platforms in the 5.5kg class. It boasts an array of compatible payloads ranging from visible, multi-spectral and even gas detection sensors, and is currently being used in a wide range of industries. Based out of Siegen, Germany, the md4-1000 is the second UAV in Microdrone’s product range following on from their md4-200 released in 2006.
Constructed of a weather resistant carbon fibre body, the md4-1000 weighs in at around 2.65kg and measures just over 1m from rotor shaft to rotor shaft. It has a payload capacity of 1.2kg and is capable of a cruising speed of around 54km/h with a climb rate of 7.5m/s. Unquestionably the most impressive feature of the md4-1000 is its maximum flight duration of 88 minutes which Microdrones demonstrated and documented in an interesting endurance test featuring the help of former FIFA soccer referee Urs Meier. This test was conducted with the inclusion of all GPS, telemetry and camera mounted payloads. Microdrones have also successfully pushed the limits of the md4-1000 to an altitude of 5000m in separate tests conducted in Switzerland and Tibet, claiming that even higher altitudes are possible with the aide of special rotors. The Command and Control range of the md4-1000 starts at around 500m, with more advanced radio links expanding this capability out to 40km for applications such as border security.
With more than 250 systems being sold since 2010, the md4-1000 is being utilised for a range of applications including infrastructure inspections, aerial media, law enforcement, scientific mapping, and search and rescue. One such project initiated by Thyssengas has been the monitoring of high pressure gas pipelines using autonomous flight md4-1000’s. With optical sensor payloads, the md4-1000 is being used to identify the patterns of risk approaching Thyssengas pipeline infrastructure, such as heavy construction machinery, as well as surveying and mapping newly constructed pipelines. Similarly, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) Institute for Solar Research have been using the md4-1000 for the aerial inspection of solar thermal power plants. These were recently used to inspect measuring instruments and mirror faces during the assembly, acceptance, and condition monitoring of the Platforma Solar de Almeria in southern Spain.
With Microdrones modular payload concept, the md4-1000 boasts an extensive range of compatible sensors enabling operators to adapt the aircraft to their chosen application. In the visible spectrum, users can select from the Sony NEX-7 or Olympus E-P3 for still cameras, and the Sony HDR-CX740VE, Panasonic HDC SD 909, or a Daylight surveillance camera for video options. Add to this the Dawn near infra red, the FLIR Tau 320 thermal infrared and TetraCam’s multispectral ADC Lite and MiniMCA 6, and it would appear that almost every data capture requirement is accounted for. Did we forget to mention that the md4-1000 is also capable of mounting a GfG Microtector II G460 for gas detection, including O2, H2S, CO, and CO2?
Safety features built into the Microdrone include a self-test before take off mechanism, GPS homing, virtual fence capabilities, real-time alert systems and an automatic safe landing feature for critical battery levels. Purchase of every md4-1000 comes complete with two full days of training including lessons in Microdrones software and flight management systems. Microdrones claim that the UAV has been designed to be so user friendly that even an inexperienced pilot is generally capable of controlling their aircraft after less than one hour of training.
For further information about the md4-1000 please visit the Microdrones website.