Drones can be used for various purposes, such as inspections, logistics, and photography. Similarly, at airports, runway inspections are essential to identify any defects, damage, or other issues that need to be addressed, like faded runway marking that needs to be repainted for better conspicuity, defects in the runway lighting system, or any obstacles that can impact safe landing of the airplane.
In such conditions, drones can be beneficial, and they can quickly fly over, detect threats, and provide aerial images and real-time footage. This allows security staff to evaluate the level of danger and identify a suitable response.
However, drones are banned from flying around airports as it can be hazardous because it is difficult for a pilot to see and avoid a drone while flying.
To overcome these problems, a Europe-based drone manufacturing company, Atlas Aerospace, has unveiled AtlasNEST docking station, specially designed for airport area security monitoring. It is an outdoor docking station that houses the company’s AtlasPRO tricopter drone.
If any control tower officer wants to check if the runway is clear, check for a suspicious vehicle, inspect the landing plane, or get a good look at something far away from the tower, they can activate the AtlasNEST remotely, which will deploy AtlasPRO drone to inspect the landing area and provide control tower workers with a bird’s-eye view.
It autonomously returns to the station when its job is done, and the freshly charged battery is then robotically swapped into the aircraft. Hence, it’s ready to go out again and can be operational 24/7.
“AtlasNEST doesn’t replace the airport safety system; it perfectly complements it,” Atlas Aerospace CEO Ivan Tolchinsky said in a statement. “The device is easily integrated into the overall system and helps the control center to get an operative, high-quality data from inspectioned area, by providing accurate geo information and awareness of the situation. AtlasNEST helps to avoid possible accidents and tragedies through a balanced algorithm of team actions”.
The AtlasPRO drone has a communication range of up to 8kms via Local WIFI, Ethernet 100 Mbit minutes, and LTE Module. The drone can autonomously take off and preciously land on AtlasNEST docking station and can take up to 3 min to deploy without human assistance.
AtlasNEST system measures 160 x 96 x 42 cm, and when deployed, it measures 250 x 110 x 52 cm. It weighs less than 75 kg (165 lbs), meaning it can easily transported by just two people. It can be installed anywhere after unpacking and is ready to use.
The AtlasNEST docking station has four batteries that can be charged within 1 hour with the help of 220V power sources. It can be easily installed anywhere, requiring only one wire for the power socket and no additional cables.
The AtlasNEST also features a 60 Mk thermal camera with up to 10X optical zoom and a built-in AI. Furthermore, it can operate from -20°C to 30°C (-4°F to 86°F), and with an external thermal management system, it can operate from -40°C to 55°C (-40°F to 131°F) and is IP53-rated.
Atlas Aerospace AtlasNEST has a leasing program starting at €4,200 ($4482) per month.