The incredible U.S. military spy drone that's so powerful it can see what type of phone you're carrying from 17,500ft
The ARG0S-IS can view an area of 15 sq/miles in a single image
Its zoom capability can detect an object as small as 6in on the ground
Developed by BAE as part of a $18million DARPA project
System works by stringing together 368 digital camera chips
A sinister airborne surveillance camera gives the U.S. military the ability to track movements in an entire city like a real-time Google Street View.
The ARG0S-IS array can be mounted on unmanned drones to capture an area of 15 sq/miles in an incredible 1,800MP - that's 225 times more sensitive than an iPhone camera.
From 17,500ft the remarkable surveillance system can capture objects as small as 6in on the ground and allows commanders to track movements across an entire battlefield in real time.
'It is important for the public to know that some of these capabilities exist,' said Yiannis Antoniades, the BAE engineer who designed the system, in a recent PBS broadcast.
The aerospace and weapons company developed the ARG0S-IS array as part of a $18.5million project funded by the Pentagon's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa).
In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes, guardian of the heifer-nymph Io and son of Arestor, was a primordial giant whose epithet, 'Panoptes', 'all-seeing', led to his being described with multiple, often one hundred, eyes.
Like the Titan of myth, the Pentagon's ARG0S-IS (a backronym standing for Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Imaging System) works by stringing together an array of 368 digital camera imaging chips.
An airborne processor combines the video from these chips to create a single ultra-high definition mosaic video image which updates at up to 15 frames a second.
That tremendous level of detail makes it sensitive enough to not only track people moving around on the ground thousands of feet below, but even to see what they are doing or carrying.
The ARG0S array sends its live feed to the ground where it connects to a touch-screen command room interface.
Using this, operators can zoom in to any area within the camera's field of view, with up to 65 zoom windows open at once.
Each video window is electronically steerable independent of the others, and can either provide continuous imagery of a fixed area on the ground or be designated to automatically keep a specified target in the window.
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