Red Cat Holdings, Inc. a military technology company that integrates robotic hardware and software to provide critical situational awareness and actionable intelligence to on-the-ground warfighters and battlefield commanders announced an important new partnership.
Opening day of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, brought the announcement that Teal Drones, a Red Cat subsidiary, has partnered with leading Canadian optical products manufacturer Immervision, whose latest navigation camera module is used for surveillance and unmanned systems. Immervision will provide Teal’s flagship drone with exceptional low-light capabilities – capabilities that Immervision demonstrated at CES.
Teal said that the new model of its Golden Eagle drone, now under development, will be equipped with two Immervision low-light camera modules. In addition to enhancing autonomous navigation at night and in other light-denied situations, such as in fog, beneath bridges and inside buildings, having two cameras provides stereoscopic vision to Teal’s autonomous pilot system. This enables the drone to create a 3D map it can use to navigate and locate itself geographically in low-light situations and in areas where a GPS signal is not available.
“The lens is designed to maximize the concentration of light per pixel on the image sensor to provide the best image quality in low-light conditions, across the complete field of view,” said Jean-Sébastien Landry, Immervision director of product management. “Our camera module has been designed from the ground up to address the challenging requirements of operating safely in low-light conditions where other sensors are inefficient. It is capable of seeing objects in a dark environment at 1 lux, which is equivalent to deep twilight.”
Ryan Kier, a senior electrical engineer at Teal who conducted independent tests to determine the best-performing low-light camera for Teal’s new drone, said the Immervision camera was “easily two times better than the nearest competitor.”
Teal is integrating the new Immervision camera with its software system to enhance the Golden Eagle’s autonomous flying capabilities. These include avoiding obstacles and taking off and landing without pilot assistance, as well as automatically generating a 3D map and locating itself on it without the benefit of a GPS signal.
“Our objective with Teal is to create the ultimate small unmanned vehicle for military and security use,” said Red Cat CEO Jeff Thompson. “We’re doing that by designing and manufacturing a highly reliable, easy-to-use drone platform to which can be added capabilities that warfighters and others on the frontlines need.”
“Because most military operations happen at night, having a low-light solution is a key capability for Teal, and we are very pleased to partner with Immervision to make this possible. Between this new development and other night-time-focused capabilities on the horizon, Teal’s new model will be the go-to small drone that defense and security forces will turn to when they need to ‘Dominate the Night’,” Thompson added.
Both Teal and Immervision are certified as “Blue UAS,” a designation awarded to manufacturers authorized to provide equipment to the U.S. military. Teal is also one of only three drone manufacturers invited to participate in the U.S. Army’s Short Range Reconnaissance Tranche 2 (SRR T2). The ultimate goal of the SRR T2 program is to provide a rucksack-portable, small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) that gives fighters situational awareness beyond the next terrain feature.