In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration regulates the size and flight limits of UAVs, stipulating that drones can’t weigh more than 55 pounds or travel higher than 100 feet above our unimpressive, human heads. In Norway, however, laws are a bit more lenient and drones get swole. The biggest drone yet, the Megakopter, just made its debut at the University of Oslo. Propelled by 48 rotors and weighing 70 kilos, this is the shadow-casting Pterodactyl of the UAV world.
Taking control of a gigantic drone is a significant event. After all, your average TK can’t destroy a Puegot. For that reason, there were numerous test flights before the Megakopter makers, including student Benjamin Sørlie Ormset, assembled a crowd they were confident would be cut down by their enormous aircraft. The project leaders even went so far as to ask the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway for permission to launch. They got it because Norway’s CAA is cool.
“The project initially started out the summer of 2014 with support from the Norwegian Research Council,” Sørlie Ormset tells Inverse. “We played around with different builds for a while, and after a lot of planning, construction of the finalized plans started during the spring of this year.”
Sørle Orset’s student group has already nabbed a Guinness World Record for “Heaviest Payload Lifted by Remote-Controlled Multicopter.” So he’s got that going on.
While the ultimate practical end of the enormous drone would be payload resources delivered en masse, Sørle Ormset says he really just wants to ride the damn thing. In a Reddit thread which has made the rounds online today, the informatics student laid bare his ambition:
“My personal dream is to be lifted by it. We’ve previously lifted 63 kilos of weights, but we’re still working on the legality of lifting a person. Fingers crossed, I’ll be allowed to ride the Megakopter one day.”
Still, Sørle Ormset acknowledges that simply getting the drone “approved for legal flight in public airspace was a lengthy process.” He doesn’t expect to be on board any time soon, but he is adamant that it could happen because of the care he’s taken to make his megadrone safe. The vehicle has a kill switch and giant rubber balls to land on. It’s probably the safest vehicle with 48 rotors out there — for what that’s worth.