SkySeer UAV Drone Soars Over L.A.
SkySeer, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) from Octatron, is being tested for use in police work by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's department. The intent is to allow the autonomous reconnaissance and monitoring craft to help with foot pursuit of suspects, as well as watching "people of interest."
(SkySeer UAV with Los Angeles Sherrif)
The SkySeer craft has a 6.5 foot wingspan, and weighs just 3.1 pounds. It cruises for 45-60 minutes at a time at about 23 miles per hour. A remote-controlled pan/tilt camera makes observing easier; the optional thermal camera makes night crime-fighting a breeze.
Octatron's handy NetWeaver Outdoor Wireless Transparent Mesh Routers makes it easy to extend the two mile range of the base station. NetWeavers automatically find each other as they are deployed across a selected territory.
At 250 feet, people on the ground cannot hear the SkySeer at all; it can barely be seen with the naked eye. At $30,000 per unit, they are much cheaper than helicopters. The device is collapsable like a kite; it can be stored in a shoulder pack that is smaller than a golf bag.
Unmanned aerial vehicles have a long history in science fiction. In his 1928 novel Beyond the Stars, writer Ray Cummings imagined the Raytron Apparatus, which could be used for remote surveillance:
Alice and Dolores held the grid between them. Sonya fired the small projectile. It sailed off, a whirling pink ball. It was in reality a small, flat disk with a lenslike eye and a whirling, pink, glowing armature on top.
Over a radius of several miles Sonya's raytron apparatus could direct its flight, and back over the invisible connecting ray came an image of all that the lens eye saw.
(Read more about the Raytron apparatus)
More recently, Larry Niven wrote about a similar device with the same purpose in his 1972 story Cloak of Anarchy:
Twice the usual number of copseyes floated overhead, waiting. Gold dots ageist blue, basketball-sized, twelve feet up. Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...
(Read more about Larry Niven's copseye)
In the last few years, the Dark Angels series has made use of hover drones, UAVs that are universally used by police forces to keep track of particular individuals, especially in places where the police fear to go. Surveillance footage is sent back to police headquarters; video files are kept on suspects.
This is hardly the first use of UAVs by police; the Gaston County Police Department in North Carolina recently caused quite a stir by trying to use a CyberBUG unmanned aerial vehicle to fly in navigable airspace. If you are interested in this area, check out the FLAVIR flapless UAV and the Cloud Swift autonomous soaring UAV. Thanks to an anonymous reader for the tip on this article, who also mentioned a reference to "Eye-in-the-Sky" from Judge Dredd. Read a bit more at the Octatron SkySeer website and at Police launch eye-in-the-sky technology above Los Angeles.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 6/15/2006)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 7 )
Related News Stories -
Ultralight Origami Crane UAV Flexes Its Wings
'They began to flex their wings.' -
Armed Drone Opens Fire
'Each a television eye and a sonic stunner...' - Larry Niven, 1972.
Kuwait Creates Mandatory DNA Database For Citizens
And who has the largest DNA database on its citizens? USA.
Brainwaves As Biometric Identification
'The doors of Mr. Lars, Incorporated, shut, tuned as they were to his own cephalic pattern.'- Philip K. Dick, 1965.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Harvard's Robobees Now 'Fly' Underwater
'...the Scarab buzzed into the great workroom as any intruding insect might, and sought the security of a shadowed corner.'
ADEPT Heat Shield Works For Mars
'...A synthetic which air-friction would erode away...'
Ultralight Origami Crane UAV Flexes Its Wings
'They began to flex their wings.'
UM Solar Car Now Also With IBM Research Power
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
Robot-Based Trash Collection
'Robots pick up the garbage and junk and load it in there...'
Warrior Web Exoskeleton For Soldiers Undergo Tests
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'
Tesla Promises Fully Autonomous Cars By 2018
'It's been a criminal offense for at least a hundred years to drive manually on a public highway.'
Light Molecules (And Maybe Light Sabers, Someday)
'It will be matter, matter made of light...'
Telepresence In The Office
'That led to his development of robot probes; small devices with cameras and sound equipment which could move freely... under direct control.'
Piper, Google's 2 Billion Line Code Repository, Needs A Cool Display
'The student pointed a finger and as he did so, the line of equations marched down the wall...'
WEpod Driverless Vehicle On The Netherlands Roads
'The car moved smoothly away. Mirelly-Lyra half relaxed; she was not steering.'
Computer Predicts Psychosis Better Than Psychiatrists
'The mechanism which was the portable extension of Dr. Smile...'
Robot Evolution Needs Mass Extinction Events
'It was small, one of the baby ones.'
Lab-Grown Kidneys Implanted Successfully - In Animals
'For a while your colonists will have to come up to the Hospital to get treatment with the ramrobot symbiots...'
Korean Lab Ready To Clone Your Dog
Man's best friend, cloned.
DARPA NeuroTech Hand With Natural Sensation
'Take care, sir.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories