Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.
Issue link: http://insideunmanned.epubxp.com/i/792105
42 unmanned systems inside February/March 2017 AIR SECURITY PARC can operate in rain and snow, at temperatures ranging from 5 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, and in constant winds of 25 mph and gusts of up to 35 mph. "It's important, when working with defense groups, to have a robust, rugged, weatherized design," Stoll said. (If the winds are too much for the drone to handle, it will lower itself to a more robust altitude, Stoll noted.) Stoll said copper stakes are provided to help ground the system against lightning. Still, "our recommendation is that if there is active light- ning, you probably want to put it down," he said. The drone can readily incorporate new pay- loads, such as a communications platform. "It's like bringing a 4G cell tower with you," Stoll said. "If your infrastructure has been damaged by a storm, or if you are in a remote location that is really hilly, this can provide a few square kilometers of coverage." In July, CyPhy received an order for PARC from the U.S. Army's Rapid Equipping Force, whose mission is to quickly provide army units with the technology they need in response to urgent challenges. "For defense applications, the applications are wherever they need to keep situational awareness over an extended period of time," Stoll said. In commercial markets, such as sporting events and concerts, "PARC helps provide sur- veillance on an extended security perimeter out to the edges of the parking lots, typically cover- ing many acres," Stoll said. "It has been used at concerts to provide quick response to transpor- tation officials during expected traffic backups. Also, it has been used at sporting events to help law enforcement officials improve their overall awareness of a large area." Although one could imagine a camera stuck on a tall pole could accomplish what PARC can achieve, "it's a tricky proposition to set up a pole a few hundred feet tall—you'd need guy wires to help it withstand the wind, and you'd need to drive the pole in on a semi, and you'd need huge blocks for its foundation," Stoll said. "If you Photo courtesy of CyPhy Works Always Watching Where Aptonomy's drone roves over prop- erties for 20 or so minutes at a time, CyPhy Works' Persistent Aerial Reconnaissance and Communications (PARC) f lying robot can hover in place over a location for days with the aid of a tether supplying it power. CyPhy is the brainchild of Helen Greiner, who co-founded Roomba-manufacturer iRobot in 1990. "Hel- en Greiner moved from ground-based robots to rugged, tough f lying robots," said Perry Stoll, head of data platform of CyPhy Works in Boston. PARC is a 15-pound hexacopter that can au- tomatically takeoff, hover and land, each at the press of a button. "It can stay up for a couple of hundred hours—almost 10 days," Stoll said. The f lying robot can operate at an altitude of up to 400 feet. "PARC is a good fit when needing to keep an overview of a wide area or venue," Stoll said. " IF YOU WANT TO SET SOMETHING UP RELATIVELY QUICKLY THAT YOU CAN THROW IN THE BACK OF A SEMI, THAT'S WHERE A SOLUTION LIKE OURS COMES IN." Perry Stoll, head of data platform, CyPhy Works PARC is armed with a camera capable of 30x zoom and a smaller omni camera capa- ble of a 360-degree view. Both have infrared capability so the drone can see at night, and are mounted on a gyro-stabilized gimbal for stable video. The drone requires 3.6 kilowatts of power, supplied by a microfilament tether 400 feet long that only weighs about 1.7 pounds The tether also relays high-definition video and pro- vides a command and control line that cannot be intercepted, jammed or spoofed. PARC does carry a small backup battery "just to help it land on its own if power from the base station gets interrupted," Stoll said.