Two MQ-9 Reapers retrofitted with the new $15 million wide-area aerial surveillance sensors, or WAAS, will fly test missions later this year, and the Air Force plans to have ten such planes in battle by next spring, in rotation on a 24/7 patrol. â€œItâ€™s an incredible force enhancer,â€ said Colonel Eric Mathewson, Director of the serviceâ€™s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Task Force at the Pentagon. Sierra Nevada Corporation, makers of the WAAS, chose the name, a spooky reference to the cursed sisters from Greek mythologyâ€”Medusa being the BeyoncÃ© of the trioâ€”whose gaze turned men to stone.
Perhaps a better description from this Washington Post Article on the Gorgon drone:
This winter, the Air Force is set to deploy to Afghanistan what it says is a revolutionary airborne surveillance system called Gorgon Stare, which will be able to transmit live video images of physical movement across an entire town.
The system, made up of nine video cameras mounted on a remotely piloted aircraft, can transmit live images to soldiers on the ground or to analysts tracking enemy movements. It can send up to 65 different images to different users; by contrast, Air Force drones today shoot video from a single camera over a “soda straw” area the size of a building or two.
It turns out Microsoft is doing something similar as was seen at TechCrunch TechFest last year. In this video called Qik Meets Photosynth they are combining different low res video streams into a much larger stream that is color corrected and aspect correct. Pretty darn cool. The video is below:
If we all streamed video from dash cams in our cars, we could have a real time traffic map of major roads combined. Things that make me go hmmmmm….