Patent-Pending Drone Technology
Parallel Flight Technologies has created patent-pending drone technology, and has already signed a contract with NASA.
This technology enables drones to carry heavy payloads for extended periods of time.
While existing drones can fly for only 15 minutes with payloads, these drones can carry up to 75 pounds of cargo for an hour, and 50 pounds for nearly three hours.
Parallel Flight’s CEO is a former electrical engineering leader for Tesla, and its team has extensive experience in robotics and machine learning.
The company is using its technology to target three massive markets:
• The Urban Air Mobility market, projected to reach $87 billion by 2035.
• The Commercial Drone market, projected to reach $34 billion by 2022.
• And the $10 billion Wildfire Suppression market.
This is a $131 billion opportunity.
The company will initially target the market for fighting wildfires, a growing public-safety crisis. Each year, thousands of families are victims of this natural disaster. And there is a continuous search for new technology to combat these incidents.
Wildfire suppression efforts could benefit from the use of drones, but this would require the devices to have long flight times and heavy lifting capabilities.
Electric drones can only fly for 15 minutes when carrying a heavy payload. And existing gas-powered drones can fly longer, but can’t carry cargo or equipment.
As a result, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Forest Service, and U.S. Navy are actively looking for heavy lift solutions for wildfires and other applications.
Parallel Flight’s drones will solve these challenges. Specifically, they’ll help firefighters by bringing them supplies like tools, fuel, food, and water while they are in the field.
In addition, the drones will be able to drop water on “spot” fires when manned aircraft can’t fly due to heavy smoke or nightfall.
Along with assisting firefighters, Parallel Flight’s drones can be used to aid search and rescue efforts, and in various logistics missions.
The key to this company’s technology is its ability to increase a drone’s efficiency while eliminating a heavy component found in other hybrid drones.
The technology is called “Parallel Hybridization.” This technology has been used in the automotive industry, but Parallel Flight is the first to bring it to the drone market.
Parallel Hybridization means that the drone’s electric motor works in concert with the combustion engine, not in a series of steps.
In other words, with a series hybrid, the machine’s power flow goes from the fuel to the engine to the motor... and then, finally, to the propeller.
A parallel hybrid, meanwhile, has the power go from the fuel to the engine to the motor and the propeller at the same time, a process that's 40% more efficient.
Parallel Flight’s drones are programmed from the ground, then autonomously perform the specific task. The drones can also be remote-controlled by a pilot.
The initial aircraft product will sell for $150,000, while the company’s production costs will be $80,000 — so, nearly 100% margins.
In addition to aircraft sales, customers will also be able to contract aircraft on an Exclusive Use, or Call When Needed basis. These contract models will provide a source of recurring revenue for Parallel Flight.
Since launching, Parallel Flight has won the Arctic Innovation competition, and been accepted into the National Science Foundation’s iCorps research program and Launch Alaska Accelerator program.
In fall 2018, the company demonstrated the core principles of its technology with a proof-of-concept aircraft.
In August 2019, it created its initial prototype, and received a $125,000 grant from NASA as part of the first phase of a contract with the agency. A Phase 2 grant will provide the company with an additional $750,000, and is contingent upon implementing its Electric Fuel injection system into its aircraft.
Once this is complete, the company’s drones will be ready for joint exercise missions with agencies interested in the products. Parallel Flight anticipates completion of this phase in 2020.
To start, the company will sell its drones and service contracts to federal, state, and municipal agencies tasked with fighting wildfires, as well as private contractors that provide wildfire services.
In the meantime, the company is working with unmanned systems programs within the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and Forestry Service. In 2018, the DOI flew over 10,000 drone missions and is looking to increase its capabilities with Parallel Flight’s heavy lift technology.
On a state level, the company is working with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which recently began developing its drone program.
On a municipal level, Parallel Flight is working with Los Angeles City Fire, and has received signed Letters of Intent from companies prepared to use its drones for search and rescue missions and invasive species removal.
Long-term, the company intends to be the premier supplier of heavy-lift unmanned systems.
It expects to begin generating revenue within a year, and begin pilot programs in adjacent markets like remote logistics and agriculture. It also aims to scale its technology for the Urban Air Mobility market for applications like “air ambulances.”
Before starting Parallel Flight, Joshua oversaw system architecture and electrical engineering efforts for Tesla’s semi-truck program.
Prior to that, he led state-funded research for the state of Alaska, developing hybrid electric commercial fishing boats.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Electrical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and a Master’s in Theological Studies from Hellenic College.
David began his career with the U.S. Navy, serving as an engineer aboard nuclear submarines. While enlisted, he also conducted drone-related research.
After leaving the Navy, he focused his career on robotic systems integration and design. He worked in both the semiconductor fabrication industry and helped develop surgical robots.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from San Jose State University.
Bobby works part-time for Parallel Flight, and will shift to full-time when the company raises sufficient capital.
In addition to this role, he works for a solar manufacturing company, focusing on developing industrial robotics systems.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University.