Israeli drone tech that took militaries by storm now eyes civilian use

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Xtend's Skylord Hunter drone has won multiple tenders with the IDF and the US Department of Defense | Photo: Moshe Shai

Xtend employs a virtual-reality headset and a single-handed controller – reminiscent of a game console – that operators use to point into the space around them and direct the drones to their expected locations.

Israeli drone company Xtend is eyeing new paths to enter the civilian security market after its Skylord Hunter drone has won multiple tenders with the IDF and the US Department of Defense.

Both militaries have placed multiple orders for the Skylord Hunter, particularly earmarking it for its ability to intercept hostile drones. On the border with Gaza, the IDF has used it to intercept some 2500 arson kites and balloons.

Xtend employs a virtual-reality headset and a single-handed controller – reminiscent of a game console – that operators use to point into the space around them and direct the drones to their expected locations.

“The IDF and the Department of Defense have jumped on this technology early on since they understood its advantages in drone interceptions,” Gadi Bar-Ner, general manager of civilian applications at Xtend, said.

Bar-Ner defined Xtend’s core vision for both the defense and civilian sectors as enabling “any person, no matter their level of qualification, the ability to fly a drone in the most complex missions with almost zero learning time.”

Its drones can deliver packages from one military battalion to another, move or detonate roadside bombs, and conduct critical functions in hostage or active shooter situations.

“Our name, Xtend, is about extending reality – not just seeing reality via drones but also interacting with it, influencing what is happening in the next room, or the other side of the world. The same technology that can be used to influence what is happening inside a building while the operator stands outside can also be used to influence events on the other side of the planet,” Bar-Ner said in reference to long-distance remote operating possibilities.

The practical possibilities and applications are seemingly endless. In fact, Xtend’s drones recently flew coronavirus test kits to onboard crews on a ship outside of Haifa to help them dock.

The technology is likely to make a landing in civilian settings in the coming future.

(Israel Hayom / JNS).

 

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