A quadcopter is a tool, a drone just waiting for humans to give it purpose. For dronemaker VINVELI, the purpose of its quadcopters shifted with the market and with its change in location. Which is how a drone launched as a farmer’s helper is now in the hands of special forces in India.
Launched in Texas, VINVELI emerged from a startup accelerator in Iowa with a mission to sell drones and drone services to agricultural and industrial users. Now based in India, the company offers drones that can fire grenades to law enforcement and military customers.
Dubbed “Vero,” the quadcopter can be outfitted with a launcher firing 38mm or 40mm grenades. Paired with the drone’s 30-40 minute flight time while armed, Vero can give more reach and direction to an attack beyond conventional trajectories. It’s easy to see how the same design that facilitated industrial inspections can be turned into a tool of urban warfare.
“Here’s an example scenario with the 38mm launcher,” describes VINVELI Group director Gokul Anandayuvaraj. “Terrorists holding hostages at 30th floor of a hotel room in an urban environment, the drone can be used to fire one wood piercing round into the window to break it and a second smoke or stun grenade to create a distraction so the counter terror forces can go in and safety intervene and rescue.”
The Vero drone, with a 5-foot diameter, can fly for up to 50 minutes without any special payload. A human operator can direct it using electro-optical or infrared cameras. The signals can be encrypted, to add some guaranteed that only the right user is seeing the feed.