1. Drone Aircraft
Air Shepherd is drone agnostic – we want the best aircraft that we can find for the job at hand. Drone design is advancing very quickly so we are constantly evaluating different platforms and we have designed our approach to be adaptable to the most capable emerging technology.
Currently, based on testing in various environments, our partners in South Africa fly custom designed UAV’s that include fixed wing and multi-rotor airframes of varying capability.
All drones are electric and have about a two hour operating cycle. Advances in battery technology are rapidly increasing the possibilities for extending these applications.
2. Airborne Sensors
3. Aerial Command Center
Only technologically sophisticated capabilities can provide the mobility and discrimination to effectively determine what is really going on in the African bush at night. The mobile command center is a support vehicle which includes:
- Remote controlled aircraft and avionics
- A variety of mounted cameras to accommodate day and night (infrared) surveillance
- Accessories such as antennae, batteries and trackers
- Radio and communication systems
- Support services such as Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping, database capacity and recording software
- Monitoring equipment and software
- Spare parts and maintenance tools
- Support services for the crew such as tents, beds, rations, etc.
4. Highly Trained Operators
The field crew includes at least a pilot and a systems operator, both of whom are highly trained in these specialized operations. The pilot is responsible for all of the physical aspects of the drone – launching, recovering, navigation, maintenance, etc. The systems operator monitors the streaming video, analyzing what is happening in the area where the aircraft is flying, communicating with rangers, recording data feeds, etc. Operating these aircraft effectively requires four months of training before individual crew members can be sent into the field on their own.