ORLANDO (FOX 13) - It's a classic case of David versus Goliath; a battle not fought with sticks and stones, but with drones.
In a blacked-out building in Central Florida, an ex-paintball worker and a former engineering student are taking on the big boys of drone aviation. Their goal is to build a better drone.
Ethan Wash and Ben Harris are the owners of Harris Aerial. They've created a gas-hybrid drone capable of amazing flight times.
Almost all consumer and industrial drones on the market today are battery-powered and average only a few minutes in the air. But the boys at Harris Aerial promise more.
"Drones that are carrying about the same type of size payload as this one does are only flying about 25-30 minutes whereas this drone can fly the same payload for about 3-5 hours," Harris said.
The implications are astounding; think search and rescue, disaster response and more.
"We just were talking with the Miami-Dade Fire Department and they want to use the drone to be able to go out up to six miles offshore to inspect ships while they're coming in," Harris explained.
About 90 percent of Harris Aerial's components are made in-house and they say that's what gives them an advantage.
"We can draw something up in a day and then, maybe later on that day or the next day, we'll have that part done," Wash explained.
And what's under the hood is just as impressive.
"Basically it's a two-stroke engine. Once it's started the gas engine actually powers a brushless motor in the back which generates electricity that powers the drone," Harris explained.
One day, Harris Aerial plans to lead the drone market.
"We hope we see tons and tons of interest in these drones. I think one day it might pay off, literally." Wash said.