Oncam Grandeye to have eyes in the sky

CyPhy Works integrates Oncam cameras into drones
Wednesday, November 11, 2015

LOWELL, Mass.—Oncam Grandeye, based here, will have its 360-degree fisheye cameras in drones from CyPhy Works, Jumbi Edulbehram, Oncam Grandeye regional president Americas, told Security Systems News.

“The biggest adopter right now is going to be police departments and emergency management personnel like fire departments,” Edulbehram said. Drones could have many applications in the commercial space, he said, but they are currently not certified for that use.

“Any kind of temporary deployments are extremely good targets for something like this,” he said, listing concerts and sporting events as examples.

The drones are still in development, Edulbehram said. He expects them to be finished and rolled out by the end of the year. The drones will be branded under CyPhy Works.

CyPhy’s drones are unique because they use a small wire, leading from the drone to the ground, that carries power to the drone and video back to a control station on the ground.

“The big issue has always been that if the drone is wireless, then there’s not enough bandwidth to transmit video. Now, with the tethered drones, they can actually get very good quality video,” Edulbehram said.

The tether also solves another problem in drones: limited battery life. “The tether, because it carries power, there is no limitation on the amount of time it can stay up,” he said.

The tether “doesn’t affect the maneuverability … [but,] it obviously limits the distance that you can send the drone.” Currently, the tether can extend to about 500 feet, according to Edulbehram. This isn’t much of a problem, he said, as drones are generally kept within the pilot’s line of sight during use.

It was CyPhy that approached Oncam Grandeye with the idea for this integration, Edulbehram said, but he said he’d been thinking about putting security cameras in drones since before he joined Oncam last year. CyPhy Works is based in Danvers, Mass., not far from Oncam’s offices here in Lowell, Mass.

CyPhy’s main focus is federal government, but Edulbehram hopes to help the drone company expand in the commercial security market.

CyPhy Works has other camera partners in addition to Oncam.