The Octatron SkySeer is an autonomous, computer-controlled unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) designed for easy transport and launch. It is designed and manufactured by Octatron, Incorporated of St. Petersburg, Florida, USA.
Intended for short-range operations, the electric-powered SkySeer resembles a normal radio controlled airplane or two-meter glider. Once unfolded from its storage tube and its electronics initialized, the SkySeer is then hand-launched by its operator. All of the drone's basic flight functions are handled by GPS including landings. Range is approximately two miles/3.2 km and is extendable via Octatron's NetWeaver interface.
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The basic platform is very low cost; a fully loaded SkySeer retails for approximately US$25,000 to $30,000 which includes all electronics, video surveillance equipment, ground station and computer interfaces. Video interface is in real time and allows the operator to literally see what the drone sees and to record it as such. The ground station's recorder can store up to twenty hours of high-quality MPEG-2 format video which can then be transferred to DVD or Macromedia Flash.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is currently experimenting with the SkySeer as a means of crime prevention. At present, the experiment has been suspended by the Federal Aviation Administration because of that agency's claim of a lack of the proper permits. Although the FAA does not regulate model aircraft, it does have jurisdiction over unmanned aerial vehicles. Negotiations between the two agencies are underway.
- Wingspan: 6.5' (1.98m)
- Weight: 3.125 lbs (1.42 kg)
- Endurance: 45 to 60 minutes at cruise speed of 23 mph (37 km/h)
- Jonathan Karp and Andy Pasztor (2006-08-07). "Drones in Domestic Skies? They're in Demand for Rescue And Surveillance Missions, But Critics Question Safety". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2006-11-07.