A new machine can gather and transmit data while flying 50 meters above a car. The Israeli-made Sky Sapience HoverMast is a general-purpose intelligence-gathering craft that can carry up to 9 kilograms of equipment like radar systems or sensors. It attaches to a small vehicle like a car or truck by a combination power and data cable, then flies above it while collecting data. The HoverMast, which weighs about 10 kilograms, is supposed to be able to rise to heights of 50 meters in 10 to 15 seconds.
The craft will debut at the AUVSI, or Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, conference in Tel Aviv. For now, it's being marketed to defense or police agencies, but in theory the HoverMast could be used for anything that requires high-speed data transmission. Although we don't imagine it'll be as good with cameras as something like this balloon, a lightweight machine that can carry almost its own weight in attachments could be valuable for scientific data collection or simple aerial photography.