Strategic Elements’ (ASX: SOR) subsidiary Stealth Technologies has signed an agreement to collaborate with US-based Planck Aerosystems on the development of a system which enables drones to launch and land from Stealth’s autonomous vehicle platform.
Under the terms of the agreement, Planck will provide royalty-free, non-exclusive access to its autonomous control engine (ACE) software for integration into Stealth’s autonomous security vehicle (ASV) technology.
The parties will jointly explore commercial, industrial and defence applications and opportunities for the integrated system.
Stealth is developing the ASV for perimeter security in critical sectors such as transport, energy, defence, government and utilities.
In these sectors, drones can augment ground-based cameras and sensors to provide enhanced range, multi-angle coverage and additional critical data such as thermal imaging.
The global perimeter security market is forecast to have a compound annual growth rate of 12% from now until 2026, reaching approximately $396.87 billion by 2025.
Launch and land
The collaboration with Planck will focus on teaching Stealth’s ASV to launch and land drones using ACE – an embedded software solution run on a variety of unmanned aircraft systems to enable autonomous launch, recovery, relative navigation and mission planning from a moving vehicle.
The precision-landing system uses computer vision, artificial intelligence and other onboard sensors and does not rely on global positioning systems (GPS) or active communications, unlike other commercially-available unmanned aircraft systems which use GPS and are not capable of autonomous operation from moving vehicles.
Stealth said drones could be launched from its ASV at any time while on patrol, effectively doubling the ASV’s surveillance coverage capabilities.
Drones could recharge once landed on the ASV and be eventually relaunched.
Under the collaboration agreement, Stealth and Planck will also assess the potential of integrating mobile-tethered drones with the ASV to give additional deployment options for drone-equipped ASVs to work near controlled airspaces and at those which would normally preclude drones such as airports and energy facilities.
While traditional ground-tethered drones can only fly in a single location, Stealth said drones tethered from an ASV are mobile and can move with an ASV while airborne.