Teal Drones Launches 4 Ship, A Drone Swarm System Flown by One Pilot
BY Zacc Dukowitz8 June 2022
Always wanted your very own drone swarm? Well, now you can have it.
Teal Drones, owned by Red Cat Holdings, recently announced that it will be releasing a multi-drone swarm system that anyone can buy.
Called 4 Ship, the system is made to be flown by a single pilot, allowing one operator to fly up to four drones at once.
Drone swarm technology has been around for some time.
Intel has famously beat one Guinness World Record after another for the number of drones flown simultaneously with its light show drones, and last year Hyundai used a massive drone light show to launch a new line of luxury cars.
But all of these flights have been for entertainment. Teal Drones believes that drone swarms aren’t just for fun, but also have real potential to change how commercial work is done with drones.
A lot of people have seen the light shows and demonstrations that companies like Intel have done for big events. [With] those swarms . . . everything is pre-programmed and pre-choreographed, so [its] usefulness doesn’t extend beyond a single light show.
– George Matus, CEO of Teal Drones
About 4 Ship
4 Ship allows four drones to work on a single task in concert while being flown by one pilot.
On the hardware side, the drones that come with 4 Ship are Teal Drones’ Golden Eagle. On the software side, the system is powered by Autonodyne’s “common control” software, which allows the pilot to automate the flight operations of each individual drone, turning it into a swarm.
4 Ship is a full solution, providing pilots with both the drones and the software needed to fly them simultaneously. As the drones fly, the pilot has access to actionable information and the display from each drone’s video feed on a single tablet view.
Red Cat Holdings is also offering an upgraded version of 4 Ship called 4 Ship+. The upgrade includes:
- Two extra Golden Eagle drones
- An additional linked controller
The 4-Ship+ configuration allows a back-up pilot to immediately take over at any time. The additional two drones also allow pilots to bring in units with fresh batteries, while units with drained batteries drop off to be charged—all without breaking up the four-drone flight pattern. This allows for continuous 360-degree surveillance of any target and overcomes the biggest weakness of any drone: limited battery life.
According to Red Cat Holding, 4 Ship is the first drone swarm product that’s ever been made available for consumers to buy.
Who Will Use 4 Ship?
As we mentioned above, the drones that come with 4 Ship are Teal Drones’ Golden Eagle.
Given that the Golden Eagle is already on the Pentagon’s Blue UAS list of drones approved for government use, it seems likely that the U.S. Army and other governmental agencies may be among the first large purchasers of 4 Ship.
But Teal Drones says that reconnaissance for defense applications is just one of the target use cases for 4 Ship.
Public safety and infrastructure inspections are two other sectors that could benefit from having several drones in the air at once controlled by a single pilot. And it seems likely, as Teal Drones’ CEO recently put it, that almost any commercial drone application could find uses for a drone swarm.
Given the growing demand for the Golden Eagle that the launch of 4 Ship may create, Teal Drones is ramping up production, with plans to dramatically increase the size of its team in the coming months.
We now have the space we need to produce Golden Eagle at really high volumes and to start developing the future of drones. And we anticipate [tripling] the current team size within the next year.
– George Matus, CEO of Teal Drones