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Another day, another drone upstart skips the consumer market

Atlas Dynamics produces 'low radar footprint' autonomous flying machine

By Gareth Corfield, 6 Sep 2017

A Latvian drone firm taking a punt at both the professional and military markets reckons its new model can stay aloft for five hours and fly for almost 100 miles (160km).

Atlas Dynamics, a Riga-based upstart founded two years ago, says its Blue-J drone is "ideally suited for large-scale security and inspection missions" and that its fixed-wing, 3.5m-wide aircraft weighs 11kg and can carry a 9kg payload.

Intriguingly, the company also says the carbon fibre Blue-J has a "low radar footprint" and is "designed with a focus on future homeland security needs", using the language of the US security theatre apparatus. The drone is said to be fully capable of beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations.

The product itself is not surprising, or particularly innovative; the professional and so-called "prosumer" drone markets are filling up with smaller players who are steering well clear of Chinese firm DJI's dominance of the mid-sized consumer drone sector.

Similarly, BVLOS-capable drones are catching on in the infrastructure sector, particularly for utility companies wanting to inspect distribution networks and the like without paying for an expensive helicopter and crew. Police forces are also going down the drone route to lower costs for aerial surveillance, albeit using consumer-grade kit rather than larger aircraft such as these. ®

The Register - Independent news and views for the tech community. Part of Situation Publishing