The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has selected Parrot, Skydio, Altavian, Teal Drones, Vantage Robotics and Lumenier to participate in the development of short-range reconnaissance (SRR) drone technology for the U.S. Army.
In a solicitation issued in November, the U.S. Army sought an SSR platform “intended to be an inexpensive, rucksack portable, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) small unmanned aircraft that provides the platoon with a rapidly deployed intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capability to provide situational awareness beyond the next terrain feature.”
In this process, the U.S. Army is partnering with the Pentagon’s internal start-up accelerator to adapt small commercial drones for the battlefield, says Parrot.
The effort recently awarded $11 million in funding to the six drone companies. The aircraft, weighing under 3 lbs., are expected to fly for 30 minutes at a range of up to three kilometers and take under two minutes to assemble.
According to Lumenier, the 15-month award for the prototype drone development could be followed by a potential DoD order.
“Small, compact drones are able to inexpensively and safely assess a situation before putting U.S. troops’ lives at risk,” says Tim Nilson, founder and CEO of Lumenier Holdco LLC. “With sensors and cameras on a small drone, we can help servicemen have eyes on an unfolding situation to make a more informed decision, among other uses.”
“Parrot is proud to have been selected by the Army to work on this highly strategic project,” states Henri Seydoux, founder and CEO of Parrot. “The United States has always been a major market for the Parrot Group, whether it is for our well-known consumer range or our advanced professional offering. We have always been at the forefront creating advanced, easy-to-use, compact and reliable drone-based solutions.
“We also perfectly understand how small unmanned aircraft, such as the Parrot ANAFI platform, has the potential to become a key part of the defense system,” Seydoux continues. “We look forward to focusing our advanced R&D on meeting the high standards set by the U.S. Army, to integrate drone efficiency in their day-to-day operations and support the world-leading army defense system.”