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Thursday, February 2, 2023

S&T Awards $200K to Planck Aerosystems for Final Testing of Small Unmanned Aircraft System

The Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) has awarded Planck Aerosystems, Inc. of San Diego, California, $200,000 to begin testing its autonomous small Unmanned Aircraft System (sUAS) in operational settings.

Planck received its award as part of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP) in partnership with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Planck’s system capability enables a sUAS to launch from and land on the bed of a moving vehicle, in addition to providing fully autonomous navigation coupled with a securing mechanism, advanced computer vision capabilities, and customized communications interfaces.

Through a combination of integrated technologies, including full-motion video, automatic target detection and geolocation, Planck seeks to provide CBP agents with a portable, ruggedized detection system that provides real-time situational awareness in the field.

In this fourth phase of SVIP, Planck will focus on functional usability improvements, such as improving user interfaces and increasing nighttime functionality.

Companies participating in the SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 of non-dilutive funding over four phases to adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.

Planck announced the S&T award just one week after winning a contract valued over $2 million from the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) to produce mobile tethered unmanned aircraft systems for integration onto tactical ground vehicles.

The mobile tethered UAS uses Planck’s autonomy and vision-guided navigation technology, which is suitable for flying from moving platforms, GPS-denied operation, and target detection and tracking.

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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