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As the US is divided over the made-in-China drones ban, a new quadcopter recently unveiled is said to be completely US-made.

The Department of the Interior continues to keep its entire drone fleet grounded, except when used for emergencies, as the department reviews if the drones are a threat to national security. The grounding policy was first applied in October due to concerns that Chinese spying and cyberattacks could be aided by the drones, which are made in China or use Chinese-made parts.

The new Black Swift E2 quadcopter drone has been designed, manufactured and serviced entirely in the USA, with no open source software and no chinese components. The unmanned aerial vehicle is designed for automated industrial and structural inspections.

Its advanced navigation enables the UAV to conduct highly accurate, up-close inspections of infrastructures even in extreme environmental conditions like heavy rains and high winds.  

The UAV developed by Black Swift Technologies (BST) is an intelligent drone capable of completely autonomous flights providing precise, reliable and safe navigation around complex structures, while delivering real-time actionable data to its operator.

Leveraging advances in computer vision and machine learning, the Black Swift E2 is an intelligent drone can be combined with an inspection payload making it capable of completely autonomous flights. 

The UAV can be fitted with the company’s patented laser navigation technology permitting high-precision navigation up close to structure like viaducts, airplanes, and commercial wind turbines, etc. 

The UAV can perform a fully-autonomous wind turbine inspection and real-time damage identification in as little as 15-minutes, according to the company website.

It carries its payload up front rather than on the belly of the aircraft enabling operators to get full field-of-view, even looking vertical. A quick-change payload bay enables swapping the sensor packages. 

Thanks to the proprietary Flight Planning User Interface, operators can program the Black Swift E2 in minutes to calculate the area under review and then begin collecting data for immediate analysis and decision making. 

The battery pack is also easy to change, and its placement is adjustable to maintain perfect balance while accommodating a host of payloads. Typical payload includes an RGB camera, laser positioning and guidance system, and radio modem, but can be customized to the operator’s individual requirements including LiDAR, thermal imagery, trace gas sensors, radiometers, and multispectral cameras.

The system easily folds down and fits into a custom carrying case for easy transport.

The company collaborated with Alerion, which supplied computer vision-based navigation and edge computing capabilities.