Startup Builds Mobile Surveillance Hovercraft
A new tethered hovercraft, made by Israeli startup Sky Sapience, can carry surveillance equipment 164 feet in the air.
CREDIT: Sky Sapience
An aptly-named startup, Sky Sapience, is building a tethered hovercraft that can loft surveillance machines 164 feet (50 meters) into the air. The 22-pound (10-kilogram) craft, called HoverMast, can carry 20 pounds (9 kilograms) of equipment. Sky Sapience, which is based in Israel, will show its invention at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International's conference in Tel Aviv Mar. 20-22.
HoverMast's tether acts as a power cord, bringing electricity in, and as a broadband cable, sending data back down to home base. Its light weight lets users drive it anywhere they like, tethered to the flatbed or roof of a car, truck, unmanned military vehicle or all-terrain vehicle. It can even operate on the move, resisting wind gusts, reported the industry magazine Aviation Week. And it takes just the push of a button to send into the air.
For now, Sky Sapience's primary customer is the Israel Ministry of Defense, which asked for a tethered hovering platform two years ago, according to Aviation Week. The company is selling the HoverMast as a military observation, border control and crowd control tool. Because it's tethered, it isn't subject to air control regulations, making it easier for police and homeland security departments to use, Aviation Week reported.
Sky Sapience will start factory-producing HoverMasts in the fall. Neither Aviation Week nor other reporting websites had any information on how much they would cost.