December 14, 2011
Reading about L2 Aerospace’s new device, you might think of MacGyver. Suddenly needing to do a little reconnaissance, he grabs a scrap of pipe and some duct tape and cobbles them together, while his cohorts look on in amazement, wondering why they didn’t come up with such an obvious plan.
Instant Eyes, a 9-inch UAV, can be set up and launched in about 20 seconds, reaching up to 2,500 feet high. When it hits its target altitude, it deploys a sensor platform with a parachute, which takes five-megapixel images of the ground below and transmits them over encrypted wifi back to the user.
It’s quick, easy, portable and …kind of brilliant, right? Instant Eyes is hand-launched, smokeless, and self-destructs upon landing, making its application in the field by the military seem like a no-brainer. L2 is developing them for civilian use as well, and one could certainly see it coming in handy for both police and firefighters.
L2 communications officer Tina Lange told A&S that they’ve completed the testing phase of the little UAV, and have started working with the U.S. Air Force “to demonstrate and observe Instant Eyes’ utility to the battlefield airman, Joint Terminal Attack Controllers and other [line-of-sight] ‘disadvantaged’ users.” The plan is to have demonstrations during USAF exercises this coming February.
Space Florida, the independent agency that fosters the state’s space industry, gave a half-million dollar grant to L2 earlier this year, according to Florida Today, to develop a prototype. Eventually the company hopes to get its range up to the edge of space.