The British Topographic Survey Bureau announced that they are developing a solar high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of providing faster and better Earth images at a height of 20,422 meters (twice the cruise speed of commercial airliners). The drone weighs 149 kilograms and has a wingspan of 38 meters, which can be positioned globally. The machine collects data over a wider area than traditional aerial images. In addition, the aircraft can complement existing satellite services, can fly for 90 days without landing, equivalent to four and a half orbits around the Earth.
Astigan is responsible for the development of this HAPS drone and has completed eight test flights safely. It is reported that Astigan will cooperate with UK SMEs, industry experts and universities, and plans to start the high-altitude test and endurance flight test of this drone. In addition to supporting government goals, such as upgrading the UK's infrastructure, the aircraft can also be used in emerging areas such as smart cities and autonomous vehicles to provide accurate 3D mapping for both. In addition, Astigan has potential global markets, including climate and environmental monitoring, providing natural disaster warnings, and supporting land management and urbanization tasks worldwide.