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Updated: July 8th, 2008 05:26 PM CDT

Advances in Aerial Surveillance Expanding Scope for UAVs in Both the Civil and Military Fields

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PALO ALTO , Calif., Feb. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are the wave of the future when it comes to aerial surveillance and are finding increasing applications across both the civil and military fields. The military uses for UAVs are pretty obvious as they provide an enormous amount of intelligence without putting a human in harm's way and also render the additional advantage of eliminating human fatigue. Illustrating this, UAV operators on long flights can simply hand over control to other operators, something impossible on surveillance aircraft such as the U.S. Air Force's venerable U2 spy plane.

Frost & Sullivan's (http://www.ti.frost.com ) latest study, Advances in Aerial Surveillance, provides an overview of aerial surveillance over the years, developments that could shape its future and key market drivers, challenges, restraints, and analysis of this mature yet changing field. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following technologies: emerging developments in manned and unmanned surveillance platforms.

"In addition to the military applications, there are a number of civilian applications where UAVs or 'drones' as they are referred to are invaluable," notes Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Sivam Sabesan. "The applications listis quite extensive and includes the likes of being used to test for chemical and biological pollution checking without exposing humans to danger, to periodically check oil pipelines for cracks, or even helping fishermen locate and monitor large schools of fish."

Notable advances in the field of aerial surveillance include the development of an automatic high-resolution remote sensor by researchers at the computer science department of University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass). This high-resolution, automatic and three dimensional (3D) mapping system claims to be more cost-effective and simplistic compared to traditional airborne remote sensing techniques. Very little technical knowledge is required to operate the UMass model and allows installation portability as it simply bolts on the aircraft, a feature rarely seen in contrast to other airborne remote sensing systems.

Moreover, hyperspectral imaging has currently emerged as a powerful means to continuously sample broad intervals of the spectrum. Inherent characteristics of hyperspectral imaging such as better characterization and superior identification of targets are achieved by using hyperspectral sensors on board aircraft, satellites. These sensors capture the reflected radiation from the object using the spectral detecting system consisting of charge-coupled devices and produce spectral signatures with no wavelength omissions.

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