Quadcopters have become a popular choice for aerial surveillance tasks, in both the public and private sectors, thanks to their portability and ease of use. The problem is their diminutive nature also limits where and when they can fly — high winds can knock them clear out of the air. The new SkyRanger sUAS, however, is powerful enough to lift off in conditions that would ground other drones.
The SkyRanger is the latest sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) developed by Aeryon Corp. Weighing about five pounds and spanning 40 inches in diameter when deployed, the SkyRanger is a larger and sturdier iteration of the company's Scout drone released in 2009.
Unlike plane-shaped UAVs, like the Scan Eagle or RQ-7 Shadow, the SkyRanger is capable of lifting off and landing vertically, eliminating the need for cumbersome slingshot launchers, sky hooks, or landing strips. What's more, the SkyRanger is built to withstand conditions that would sideline other drones. It's able to fly continuously for nearly an hour through 60km/h sustained winds, shrug off gusts up to 90km/h, and operate in temperatures ranging from -30C to 50C.
The SkyRanger carries both a 1080p/30 fps colour camera that captures 15MP stills and a 640x480 infrared camera in its stabilised gimbal. These feeds are transmitted over a low-latency encrypted channel to the operator up to 5km away. This allows the SkyRanger to operate beyond the control station's line of sight making this sUAS an effective tool for military ISR missions, domestic security surveillance and emergency response.