UMS Skeldar teams with Sentient for ViDAR enhancement

Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) company UMS Skeldar has joined forces with Sentient Vision Systems to equip its SKELDAR V-200 VTOL UAV with a ViDAR (visual identification detection and ranging) system for its unmanned systems.

The ViDAR payload on the SKELDAR V-200 will be deploying five to ten cameras, providing between 180 and an optimal 360-degree maritime domain awareness for the first time, the company said.

ViDAR is a wide area autonomous detection system for electro-optic imagery in the maritime domain, enabling coverage over 80 times the ocean’s surface compared with existing electro-optic sensors. ViDAR transforms the utility of tactical UAS’s by giving them a ‘find’ function for the first time. Operators typically must rely on larger, more expensive aircraft to detect objects in the ocean; ViDAR provides the find capability in a smaller, more cost-effective payload.

“As we develop our maritime customer base, ViDAR is complementary to our on-board and payload capabilities, and will play an important role in developing our footprint for both ISR (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and SAR (search and rescue) operations,” David Willems, UMS Skeldar’s head of business development, explained.

Sentient’s ViDAR optical radar autonomously scans the ocean around the air vehicle detecting any object on the surface of the ocean in real time.

“ViDAR proved during demonstrations to both the US Coast Guard and to the Royal Navy in late 2016 just how much of a game changing technology it can be for finding small objects over wide areas of the open ocean – transforming maritime domain awareness,” said Simon Olsen, Sentient’s director of business development, strategy and partnerships.