Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has successfully converted a manned aircraft into a drone, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Monday.
A group of three drones (drone squadron) have been tried and tested within a control room to carry out join missions.
They are equipped with day and night high-resolution cameras and can carry different loads and work by satellites, said the report. They can also fly up to 30 hours.
The drones can also be used as air stations to transfer “a high amount of information among aircraft to the ground operations room to cover large distances,” the SPA report said.
— KACST (@KACST) July 17, 2017
KACST president Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed said that the drones – called ‘Al-Nawras’ – have strategic advantages.
The drone squadron can be beneficial in the military field and allow operational flexibility, he said.
For example, while one drone conducts aerial photography, another one can conduct jamming operations, while a third can carry out tactical missions, he added.
The drones are part of KACST’s projects aimed at catering to Saudi’s National Transformation Program 2020 and Vision 2030 programme.
Drones are being developed and introduced across the region as part of efforts to move toward smarter transport options.
Last week, progress was announced on the UAE’s first drone taxi.
The EHANG184 had been undergoing trial runs at Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and has proven to withstand different weather conditions.
The self-driving drone can cruise up to 25 minutes and 60 km per hour.