Baltimore-based drone manufacturer Watts Innovations has announced the launch of PRISM Sky – a heavy lift, LTE-enabled drone for industrial applications. Powered by Auterion’s open-source ecosystem, the PRISM Sky drone is NDAA-compliant, making it ideal for operators who require products that are manufactured in the US, free of data privacy concerns.
What is NDAA compliance and why does it matter?
NDAA, or National Defense Authorization Act, defines what the US Department of Defense can buy. And in view of growing concern around cybersecurity, other government agencies are known to use NDAA provisions for implicit guidance.
It’s worth noting that just because a drone is manufactured in the US doesn’t automatically make it NDAA compliant. For example, a flight controller manufactured in the US but with designs owned by entities in China or Russia will not be considered NDAA-compliant. If you want to learn more about NDAA compliance, we recommend this blog by Auterion.
PRISM Sky: Features, price, availability
Coming back to the drone, Watts says PRISM Sky has been designed with industrial applications such as cargo hauling, LiDAR scanning, package delivery, and infrastructure inspections in mind. It uses Watts’ in-house KONTACT ground control station.
Meanwhile, integration with Auterion architecture means PRISM Sky operators can tap into fleet health in real-time for reduced risk mitigation and get predictive maintenance recommendations based on flight data. The open-source software suite also allows drone pilots to achieve increased efficiency through real-time data delivery and workflow integration from the payload to the computer, eliminating the manual handling of SD cards.
As Bobby Watts, founder and CEO of Watts Innovations, explains:
We’re able to provide customers greater functionality and connectivity through the Auterion Skynode integration with an NDAA compliant heavy-lift drone alternative to non-NDAA compliant options.
In terms of payload, the drone is capable of natively controlling the Sony A7R IV and a multitude of other plug and play payloads powered by Auterion’s ecosystem.
Interestingly, PRISM Sky can fly as a quadcopter or as an X8 Coaxial, with motors large and small. The drone is smart enough to detect and automatically configure the autopilot for flight no matter what kind of propulsion system is installed.
The estimated retail price for the PRISM Sky quadcopter is $25,999, while the Coaxial X8 version is expected to retail at $28,999. While pre-orders have already begun, Watts expects to make the drone publicly available sometime in 2021 Q4.
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