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Tue, Apr 18, 2017

Hydrogen Drone Smashes The High Altitude Barrier For Drone Rescue

Tested At Yulong Snow Mountain In Yunnan Province, China

Search and rescue is a major humanitarian use for drones, but mountain rescues at high altitude have been largely impossible due to the technology barriers created by the use of lithium batteries. Commercial drone manufacturer MMC has successfully crossed the barriers with the hydrogen-powered HyDrone 1550.

MMC's trained pilots traveled from its headquarters to Yunnan Province, China to test the HyDrone 1550 in some of the toughest terrain in the world - the extreme altitude and cold of the Yulong Snow Mountain and Baima Snow Mountain. The HyDrone 1550 performed at altitudes of over 14,000 feet - passing every test with flying colors.

The official tests were not the first successful outing for the drone, which has already saved lives. Earlier this year, the HyDrone 1550 was used to rescue 3 people during a mission on Changbai Mountain near China's northeastern border. Literally translated as "The Perpetually White Mountain," the rugged terrain and -22F temperatures make most drones unusable in the region.

"While the testing allowed us to present our results in a controlled way, we're most excited about the practical use of the drone to save 3 people," said Leo, Liu, MMC's CEO. "This is truly life-saving technology."

Drones offer dramatic advantages over helicopters in search and rescue applications. The cost of operating a drone is a fraction of the cost of helicopter operation; the size allows flight at lower altitudes and in inaccessible areas. Conditions that may make helicopter flight unsafe for the pilot can be navigated without risk to the human operator during a drone mission.

While drones powered by lithium batteries have been subject to the limitations of short flight endurance and narrower weather conditions, MMC's hydrogen technology has effectively removed these barriers. The carbon-fiber, hydrogen-fueled HyDrone 1550 has a flight endurance approaching that of a helicopter - up to 150 minutes - with a radius of 10 km (approx. 6.2 miles). And most importantly for mountain search and rescue, the drone can fly in almost any terrain.

HyDrone 1550's flexible payload system has made it a leading solution for many applications including: powerline inspections, oil inspections, forestry, firefighting, and more.

(Image provided with MMC news release)

FMI: www.mmcuav.com

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