A Lockheed Martin wireless ground sensor network will soon have the capability of connecting with unmanned aircraft.
The Self-Powered Ad-hoc Network (SPAN), which consists of small self-recharging sensors nodes, will automatically prompt UAV sensors without requiring the aircraft’s operators to be alerted.
“Each node, once placed on or in the ground in a mesh arrangement, transmits relevant data to the next node, and so on, until the information is ultimately forwarded to a wide area communications link,” Lockheed Martin said in a news release. “During a UAV mission, the ground network automatically prompts the UAV’s high precision sensors to further characterize the alert without the need for a remote analyst.”
This spares UAV operators from having to loiter the aircraft over a patrol area while waiting for a potential sensor contact.
“SPAN is essentially a network of unobtrusive sensor nodes small enough to fit into the palm of your hand,” said Macy Summers, a vice president with Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions. “Linking SPAN sensors with UAVs provides a cost-effective solution that can support many types of missions including force protection, border surveillance and regulatory and treaty compliance.”