The original RMAX drone used a 250cc two-stroke engine.

The Yamaha RMAX is the high performance standard in remotely-piloted helicopters designed for agriculture purposes. The RMAX helicopters have flown millions hours. Yamaha RMAX helicopters treat 2.4 million acres of farmland in Japan each year. Over 3000 Yamaha helicopters are operating worldwide. It is a UAV with civilian uses. They were riginally powered by a Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke engine. The advantages of internal combustion engines is the difference in energy intensity between the two. The move to electricity is universal in most drones, but Yamaha plans to combine internal combustion and electric power,by not using the gasoline engine to power the aircraft to fly, but to generate electricity instead. This allows the engine to run at an rpm range for maximum combustion efficiency, utilizing the gasoline engine’s higher energy intensity and the improved fuel mileage to create a power source more efficient than a battery.

What is a UAV? It is an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and ever since the strife in the Middle East started you have been hearing a lot about them. In the past, UAV’s were the sole domain of the U.S. Military, but now Yamaha has unveiled a range of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that brings the cost of UAVs down, and make it possible for corporations and universities to perform tasks which were previously too expensive. Volcanic eruptions, flood control, river bank maintenance and even crop dusting have joined spying as major uses of UAVs.

Yamaha’s development of unmanned helicopters began in 1983 when the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries wanted an unmanned helicopter for crop dusting. Yamaha completed its first utility-use unmanned helicopter, the R-50 in 1987. It had 20 kg (44 pound) payload. The Aerial Photography version can fly up to 400 feet above the ground and costs between $150,000 and $230,000.

The fully autonomous, 140-pound, Yamaha R-Max with ground station, antennas, computers, monitors and two complete autonomous airframes and a four camera system runs $1,000,000.00. With the million dollar helicopter the pilot can watch what’s happening from all four cameras at once while the RMAX goes about the flight plan it has been programmed with from the controlling computer. If the operator sees something they want to look at closely, they can override the plan to get closer and then resume the original flight plan or program a new one.

It is fast sleek and small. Well, it is not that small.

Mounted on the helicopter are observation equipment, consisting of a digital camera and a digital still camera, are mounted along with three miniature video cameras for navigation purposes. Images from these cameras are sent from the helicopter to the ground station on a real time basis, where they are viewed on a four-window split screen monitor. The RMAX can accommodate a still camera or video camera for observation purposes, or a compact camera for navigation purposes onboard. Thus, the operator will be able to obtain information on a real-time basis. The images captured by a camera can be transmitted, so that they can be monitored simultaneously on land.

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