There’s a reason nature uses eggs to protect offspring who develop outside their mothers. Domes are inherently strong and durable, so it also makes sense to build a drone with a similarly bulbous shape to help it survive crashes, collisions and other accidents when an amateur pilot is at the controls.
But an egg-shaped fuselage isn’t the only thing the Nimbus 195 racing drone has going for it in the strength department. Even an egg will shatter when thrown against a wall, so the Nimbus 195 improves on nature’s design with a one-piece exoskeleton body made from lightweight but incredibly strong carbon fibre that’s up to 4mm thick in some places to help ensure the drone can survive a rough landing.
Even the propellers on the Nimbus 195 look like they can take a beating, since they’re made from malleable plastic that bends on impact, instead of shattering, so they can simply be bent pack into place for the next flight. But propellers are cheap to replace, drones aren’t, so in addition to being able to survive a punishment as extreme as being run over by a car the Nimbus 195 is even IP 54-rated, which means that the drone getting a little wet when landing in a puddle isn’t going to fry its electronics.
Aerodyne RC, the creators of the Nimbus 195, have created an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign with the hopes of raising $US30,000 ($40,741) to help put its racing drone into production — but that doesn’t mean it’s going to come cheap.
If you’re already an experienced drone racing pilot, you can pre-order just the Nimbus 195 carbon fibre body for $US160 ($217), with delivery expected sometime next month. But if you’re a novice, and need everything from the carbon fibre body, to the electric motors and electronics, to even a controller, the full Nimbus 195 package will set you back $US750 ($1019). That’s certainly expensive, but at least there’s little risk of you completely destroying it on your maiden test flight.