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 -
VIDIUS Smallest First Person View (FPV) Drone
'...the Scarab... transmitting to its manipulator, far away now, all that ... it saw with its minute vision tubes.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936.
ShotSpotter Gunshot Location Tech Expands Coverage
'Sound trackers on the roof could zero in on weapons action...' - Greg Bear, 2007.
Drone Catches Drone! In Japan
'The real border was defended by... a swarm of quasi-independent aerostats.' - Neal Stephenson, 1995
Aerial Assault Drone Looking For Padme's Apartment
"I can sense everything that is happening in that room.'
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.
SCiO Scanner Wants You To Be Spock
Almost as easy as a tricorder?
Self-Adapting Composite Heals Itself
'...Could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.'
Rigid Clothing, Or Wearable Furniture?
'Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing...'
Swarming Intelligent Aquatic Surface Robots Ahoy!
'A remote-controlled emulsion, as it were, with uniform center...'
SuitX Cheap Medical Exoskeleton
'... standing on two corrugated-soled titanium footplates...'
Harvesting Energy From Internal Resonance
'Sometimes a man has a windmill on his roof...'
Sticker Harvests Energy From Your Skin
Another way to harvest power from the body.
Twitter Sarcasm Detected By Computer
Myo-Controlled Prosthetic Arm
'Sensitive actuators touch the tendons in your right wrist.'
Self-Driving Trucks For Netherlands' Ports
'Trucks gulped packages and scurried like beetles...'
Google Should Name Roads After Science Fiction Authors
Heinlein, DIck, Niven - and more!
Apple Ring: Finally, Engineers Want To Make My Finger Watch
'Crayn glanced at his finger watch...'
First Flower Grown In Space Is Edible
Yeoman Rand, admire the flowers, please.
Get Your Own 64 Channel, Dry-Electrode Brain-Computer Headset!
'they all relaxed and got mellow....'
Biggest Drone Swarm Sets World Record
Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) airborne simultaneously.
ATLAS Robot Now Does Housework!
'Just what did I want Flexible Frank to do?'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories