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Autonomous drones are helping to keep a U.S. Air Force base in California secure

Travis Air Force, Easy Aerial partner up for Autonomous Drone Based Security Operations

Security is a big concern when it comes to the military, and the powers that be have no shortage of impressive, cutting-edge technologies they can call into service to help achieve this goal. We recently wrote about the deployments of dog robots to patrol Tyndall Air Force Base near to Panama City, Florida. Now Travis Air Force Base in California is testing out autonomous drones to help keep the goings-on at the military site away from prying eyes.

“Air bases are expansive installations that can be problematic to secure,” Ido Gur, CEO of Easy Aerial, the company providing the drone solution, told Digital Trends. “Perimeters span many miles and need to be continually patrolled on foot or by vehicle. If a security camera detects a breach or a sensor alarm is triggered, it can take up to 15 minutes for personnel to arrive at the location. Our UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) automatically deploy in seconds after an alarm is triggered, and base security can have eyes on the scene within a matter of minutes.”

Easy Aerial has deployed two types of custom drone technology at Travis Air Force Base. One involves tethered UAVs, while the other features drones that operate on a free flight mode, with autonomous takeoffs and landings from weatherproof base stations. These can be either strategically located around the base or mounted on vehicles.

Easy Aerial drone
Easy Aerial

“When motion, vibration or optical sensors are triggered along a perimeter, the nearest system will automatically deploy within seconds and fly at up to 65 mph to the trigger location,” Gur said. “Or in the case of the tethered system, it will automatically take off and zoom in on the location in question.”

This collaboration between Easy Aerial and the 60th Air Mobility Wing, 60th Security Forces Squadron is reportedly the first automated drone-based monitoring and perimeter security system used for a United States Air Force installation. Should all go according to plan with this initial deployment, the hope is to roll out similar technology to additional U.S. Air Force bases next year.

“Currently, we are in the initial operational capability phase [of the deployment] that consists of support, training, logistics, and system interoperability within the [Department of Defense] operational environment,” Gur said. “From there, we will move into full operational capability on Travis AFB. Multiple USAF Air Mobility Command bases and the Air Force Security Forces Center are exploring additional applications, including critical infrastructure and aircraft inspection, firefighting, asset protection, event monitoring, and surveillance.”

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Luke Dormehl
I'm a UK-based tech writer covering Cool Tech at Digital Trends. I've also written for Fast Company, Wired, the Guardian…
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