Sunday, September 28, 2014

Quarkson: SkyOrbiter UAV fleet to provide Web Access in remote areas

Web access can transform regions in terms of education, communication and health, during emergency situations, a working Internet signal can be the difference between life and death.

Facebook has already aired a plan to use unmanned drones to get remote areas of the world connected, and Portuguese company Quarkson wants to follow suit with its own SkyOrbiter fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The SkyOrbiters bridge the gap between satellites orbiting in space and users on the ground, Internet access is provided not by cell towers fixed to underground networks, but by the drones in the air, beaming out high-speed data connections for the population down below to take advantage of.

For remote, rural, undeveloped areas this is a more efficient and cost-effective way of getting people connected.

In some areas, depending on the specific requirements, the SkyOrbiter may connect with a substation at ground level (directly hooked into the Web) rather than a satellite up in space.

4G data speeds can be provided to any area with a line of sight to one of these Quarkson SkyOrbiter drones.

There are a total of nine different SkyOrbiter drones in the pipeline, which operate at either a high or low altitude, 22,000m (72,180ft) or 3,500m (11,480ft) respectively.

The most basic, the LA25, can stay in the air for two weeks and 42,714km (26,540 miles); the most advanced, the HA75, will be able to stay airborne for five years and an incredible 5,000,000km (3,107,000 miles).

That's because the higher altitude planes are powered by solar energy, so they can keep going as long as the sun is shining, with a network of these always-on UAVs circling around the skies above, parts of the planet that were previously cut off can be connected very quickly.

According to the United Nations, Internet access is a human right, and ensuring universal access to it should be a priority for all countries.'

The size and payload of the UAVs in Quarkson's fleet varies significantly.

The LA25 has a wingspan of around 25 metres (82 feet) and a maximum payload of 35kg (77lbs).

This increases with each model until you get to the HA75, with a wingspan of 75 metres (246 feet) and a maximum payload of 280kg (617lbs).

If you haven't twigged, the codename for each drone indicates the altitude it can reach and its wingspan.

It's not just about Internet connectivity, either: the UAV fleet can be used to capture aerial imagery, monitor environmental conditions, track down illegal operations and more besides.

Each drone is controlled by a Constellation Manager unit on the ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment