Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pentagon awards contract to Planck Aerosystems for vehicle-mounted drones

A $2 million contract to Planck Aerosystems to produce mobile tethered unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) has been awarded by the Department of Defense.

Planck Aerosystems snagged a contract to create an unusual version of the tethered drone system that will launch from the top of the tactical vehicles.

Upon command from a user in the cab, a drone equipped with Planck’s drone system can safely launch from a moving ground vehicle and complete a full mission without the need for the driver to stop. Live video is streamed directly to the user, including object detection, classification, and tracking data. At the end of the mission, the drone returns to the ground vehicle, no matter where it has driven, and executes a precision landing in the bed. An optional securing mechanism can automatically fasten the drone to the ground vehicle while not in flight.

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The contract award from the United States Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO)  covers produce the mobile tethered UAS leverages Planck Aero’s autonomy and vision-guided navigation technology, which is ideally suited for flying from moving platforms, GPS-denied operation, and target detection & tracking. This technology was built, tested, and refined by Planck’s team of robotics and aviation experts over many years. Existing unmanned aircraft systems use global positioning and not capable of autonomous operation from moving vehicles.

Planck Aero’s autonomy solutions have been integrated into several different unmanned aircraft platforms, providing push-button takeoff and precision landing from confined spaces, as well as from moving vehicles and vessels on land or at sea.

“From the beginning, Planck has been focused on developing and deploying the technologies necessary to provide mobile users with actionable, real-time situational awareness,” said Josh Wells, Planck Aero’s CEO.

“This effort will enable us to deploy technology into the hands of those who need it the most – and quickly. We’re excited about moving forward with this effort, and to be able to work with the customer to the benefit of those on the tip of the spear.”

This contract with CTTSO is in addition to Planck Aero’s existing UAS autonomy and computer vision programs with the Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security, as well as work with international partners in applications such as oil spill response, tracking endangered whale species, and offshore asset inspection.

Photo by Planck Aerosystems

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Executive Editor

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