Fly Two UAVs at Once?

French aerospace manufacturer Thales has come up with a proof-of-concept that takes multitasking to a whole new level. The experimental touchscreen control station would allow UAV pilots to operate multiple aircraft simultaneously.

“The operator simply has to sit down and define what to track,” said Arnaud Galimberti, the project’s engineering manager. “Take-off, flight trajectory, tracking and landing are almost entirely automatic, so the operator can focus fully on the actual surveillance mission.”

The system is also capable of managing sensors, such as external cameras mounted to the UAV, and detecting and tracking potential threats in the vicinity. With the capability of managing two UAVs, the operator can cover surveillance of larger areas. What the FAA and EASA will say about a pilot managing multiple aircraft remains to be seen.

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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