Read What makes an effective UAV and the firms that make the difference: Part I

In the previous installment, we explored what characteristics make an effective Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV). A company that manufactures UAVs and wishes to be competitive has to ensure that its products have a robust and accurate navigation system, stout and clear sensory and image capturing technology, and a resilient and efficient operating system (for example, good battery life).

There are two middle-range companies that produce top-notch and affordable equipment for UAVs:

4D Technologies

Based in Arizona, 4D Technologies has been experimenting with systems to improve UAV navigation capabilities. Dynamic Interferometry (DI) is one of these systems. DI utilises laser interferometers emanating high-speed, high-resolution waves to measure the form of surfaces to determine the trajectory. What makes DI systems even more accurate and reliable is their ability to ignore environmental noise and aerial vibration and turbulence. Conventional interferometry systems gather their data separately (but within milliseconds). The DI, however, which has been developed by the company 4D Technologies, gathers the data simultaneously, and thus more accurately.

When it comes to image capture, 4D Technologies has developed the PolarCam Snapshot Micropolarizer Cameras. These cameras can simultaneously take from numerous angles a snapshot image without any image blur. The company, moreover, offers a variety of additional gadgets that enhance the cameras’ effectiveness and ease-of-use.

Rochester Precision Optics (RPO)

Headquartered in Rochester, New York, RPO has had a long partnership with the Department of Defence (DoD) and other government agencies. For example, it has worked in projects like the AN/PSQ-20 Enhanced Night Vision Goggle and the Ground Panoramic Night Vision Goggle (GPNVG), which has four tubes.

When it comes to drones, RPO specializes in camera lens systems for surveillance and reconnaissance, hyperspectral and multispectral imaging systems, and infrared imaging (heat-detecting). Hyperspectral imaging utilises every pixel in an image to better identify objects. Multispectral imaging captures image data within certain electromagnetic wavelengths.

RPO develops and produces affordable infrared (IR) aspherical optical lenses. By utilising a specific automated moulding technology, which is more economical because it doesn’t require expensive capital equipment and skilled labour, RPO is able to produce its optical equipment without breaking the bank.

Both companies have worked and continue to work on government UAV projects. Nonetheless, their products can also be incorporated into UAVs that are designed for private use. The imagery modifications, for instance, could prove quite useful to real-estate companies that employ UAVs to survey building sites.


This article was written by Stavros Atlamazoglou

Image courtesy of Facebook

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