eBee TAC – RotorDrone

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Though it’d at first look be mistaken for a $100 Popwing, the eBee has been a mainstay within the aerial surveying and mapping business for almost a decade. The flying wing is famend for its ease of use: plan a mission in your laptop computer, take it out to the sphere, shake it 3 times after which toss it into the air. A traditional two-stick controller isn’t even possibility with the eBee—however with a beginning worth of $13,500, you’re most likely higher off letting the pc do the flying, anyway.

With its in depth observe file of success in civilian operations, eBee’s developer senseFly—acquired by AgEagle from French drone maker Parrot in 2021—determined to create a brand new model tailor-made for a gaggle of end-users with an much more pressing and compelling mission: the army.

RotorDrone - Drone News | eBee TAC

To assist defend ahead deployed army personnel, the eBee TAC incorporates encrypted communications and different knowledge safety features to forestall it from gifting away pleasant positions, even whether it is captured by the enemy.

In fact, the tactical use of small UAS instantly conjures up photographs of a stay video feed, revealing the unhealthy guys making an attempt to arrange an ambush on the other aspect of a hill from pleasant forces. Nonetheless, as a mapping platform, the eBee is ill-suited for that sort of real-time reconnaissance. I requested AgEagle’s regional supervisor for North America, Gary Licquia, to clarify conops for the eBee within the battlefield context.

“What we’re doing with eBee is chopping out a step within the course of for these guys which can be proper there on the vanguard,” stated Licquia. “Proper now, they should name in for aerial reconnaissance and so they is perhaps fifteenth in line to get a bigger asset overhead. So, as a substitute of getting to cellphone the mothership and say, ‘Hey, I would like this knowledge,’ they’ve the drone with them to allow them to go forward and do it themselves.”

When the plane returns from a mission, the info might be rapidly downloaded and assembled right into a map utilizing widespread software program instruments reminiscent of Pix4D React. And, the ensuing knowledge is unclassified, so it may be freely shared throughout totally different items working within the battlespace.

The eBee TAC was developed in session with army prospects and incorporates many options that will be pointless, and even counterproductive, in a civilian platform.

“We’ve built-in some safety features: we have now 256-bit encrypted communications, suppressed flight logs and a safe SD card, in order that if something occurs to it, the unhealthy guys aren’t going to have the ability to pull any helpful knowledge off the drone,” Licquia defined. “Additionally, we will fly with none radio communications in any respect. You may add the mission to the drone beforehand, so it’s saved on board, and then you definately don’t have to speak with the drone whereas it’s performing its mission. You may fly in full blackout mode, so it’s invisible when it comes to RF indicators.”

The plane additionally incorporates the flexibility so as to add bespoke payloads that could be required by sure army functions by way of an open payload design. Licquia added: “We give them the specs when it comes to the scale, the load, the middle of gravity to allow them to go forward and combine it into the drone themselves.”

RotorDrone - Drone News | eBee TAC

The usual payload for the eBee TAC incorporates each a 20-megapixel seen gentle digital camera in addition to a 640×512 thermal imaging sensor, permitting important intelligence to be gathered day or night time.

The eBee TAC is able to flying for as much as 90 minutes, giving it the flexibility to map almost two sq. miles at a decision of 1.5 centimeters per pixel. The eBee’s common black-and-yellow trim has been modified to a speckled black-and-white floor to camouflage the plane, which is undetectable visually and acoustically past 1,000 toes.

The inventory configuration contains an electro-optical/infrared payload incorporating a 20-megapixel seen gentle digital camera in addition to 640×512 thermal imaging sensor from FLIR. Commonplace different payloads embody the S.O.D.A. 3D seen gentle digital camera that comes with an inside roll-axis gimbal to seize each nadir and indirect imagery to boost the standard of three-dimensional fashions constructed utilizing photogrammetry, in addition to a 24-megapixel seen gentle digital camera optimized for low-light efficiency.

Equally essential for the potential army consumer is the truth that the eBee TAC is accepted to be used in delicate functions. Certainly, the eBee is the primary fixed-wing platform to be acknowledged as a Blue UAS by the Protection Innovation Unit to be used by america Division of Protection.

BY PATRICK SHERMAN

 

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