An Israeli firm has developed new aerial security technology that can be automatically ground-launched to an altitude of 50 metres in just 15 seconds.
Sky Sapience's HoverMast currently exists as a prototype and flight trials are scheduled to take place next month, pending the start of full production before December 2012.
The HoverMast specialises in low-altitude surveillance hovers, all the while remaining tethered to its launch platform. Not only does the single tether keep it in place, but it also acts as a power channel. So, if the system was launched from an armoured vehicle, the HoverMast would run off that vehicle's fuel supply.
The tether also has integrated power cables, along which image data is transmitted to ground-based operators in real-time.
HoverMast Surveillance Platform
The HoverMast surveillance platform can operate around the clock and, supplementing its in-built surveillance systems, up to nine kilograms of additional equipment can also be lifted into the air - just one kilogram less than the system's own ten kilogram weight.
In comments made to Gizmag, a Sky Sapience representative described the system's potential applications, foremost of which is border control.
"The classic application for the HoverMast is Border Protection", the technology website quoted the spokesperson as having said. "We estimate the most common usage of the HoverMast will be with real time video camera capable of delivering day and night pictures to the user."
Israeli Airborne Surveillance
The HoverMast came about after the Israeli MoD (Ministry of Defence) issued a new requirement for an airborne surveillance platform - Sky Sapience's design going on to win the contract.
Besides its main role, the technology could also be tasked with target acquisition, observation and signals intelligence and, when folded-up, the HoverMast measures less than a metre across.
While initial HoverMast flight tests will be carried out in April, before that, the technology will be on show at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) Conference event, which takes place in Tel Aviv, Israel, between 19-22 March.
Image copyright Sky Sapience - reproduced with grateful thanks