The Ordnance Survey reckons it has succeeded the place Google and Fb failed, with the launch of a solar-powered drone fleet that may hover completely excessive above Blighty.
The Astigan high-altitude “pseudo satellite tv for pc” (HAPS) is British know-how, and was co-developed with the Survey, which owns it. Brian Jones, former RAF pilot and balloonist who recorded the primary continuous around the globe balloon flight in 1999, introduced know-how from his Photo voltaic Impulse undertaking to the enterprise. That was the primary photo voltaic airplane to circumnavigate the globe.
The autos will function at an altitude of 67,000ft (c. 20,420m) for 90 days at a time with out refuelling. That is the “equal of circling the Earth four-and-a-half occasions”, the makers say, based mostly on a groundspeed of 90kph, so masking over 2,100km a day.
The car has a 38m wingspan however weighs little greater than a typical sysadmin: 149kg (328lb).
The concept is that it is cheaper than rocket-powered satellite tv for pc launches, supplies higher-resolution photographs, and is doubtlessly extra versatile. It is simpler to divert a drone than an orbiting satellite tv for pc.
Along with mapping, the platform has makes use of for “urbanisation, land administration, environmental change and mapping to help emergency response within the case of pure disasters”, based on Neil Ackroyd, co-founder of the corporate.
The HAPS might keep aloft longer however the batteries degrade after round 100 cycles, the OS tells us. ®