In an age where threats can lurk anywhere authorities are calling out for new surveillance systems that can watch entire areas, or cities, in real time, and industry is answering them.


Yesterday at the Paris Airshow Elbit Systems, an Israeli defence company, demonstrated their new, breakthrough commercial avionics system called SkEye – a Wide Area Persistent Surveillance System (WAPS).


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Persistent surveillance systems, such as WAMI, which was used during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, and ones that I’ve mentioned before like those being trialled in Baltimore, or the new Planet satellite network “Constellation,” are exactly what they sound like – airborne systems, armed with batteries of cameras and intelligent software, that can monitor everyone, and everything, whether it’s in a battle, or in a city, or every corner of Earth 24/7/365.


The SkEye drone in action

In fact, they’re getting so good that many experts in the field now describe them as “Google Earth with TiVo capability.” In SkEye’s case the platform stitches together thousands of real time images to create a billion pixel coverage of an 80 square kilometre area. Putting that into perspective just thirteen of these systems, linked, could monitor and track everything happening in Los Angeles in real time.


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The SkEye system can be installed in light manned aircraft and large Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and has already been operated for several years by the military of at least two countries.

SkEye persistently observes and records a much wider area than conventional UAS carried Visual Intelligence (VISINT) systems, and like the other systems on the market, the system’s users can also choose real-time or “back in time” video footage anywhere within the covered area, and ten different areas can be analysed in depth by different users simultaneously.

The system is made up of several ultra long range, day and night, multi-spectral Electro Optic (EO) ISTAR sensor, image processing and data storage units, which continuously send data to the ground based SkEye Control and Management Center, and it can also be configured to flag specific events using a customised alert system.


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And yes, you are right, this does give new meaning to an eye in the sky, and when it’s combined with other new emerging technologies you might want to stop, pause and think about what all this means for the future of your personal privacy

About author

Matthew Griffin

Matthew Griffin, described as “The Adviser behind the Advisers” and a “Young Kurzweil,” is the founder and CEO of the World Futures Forum and the 311 Institute, a global Futures and Deep Futures consultancy working between the dates of 2020 to 2070, and is an award winning futurist, and author of “Codex of the Future” series. Regularly featured in the global media, including AP, BBC, Bloomberg, CNBC, Discovery, RT, Viacom, and WIRED, Matthew’s ability to identify, track, and explain the impacts of hundreds of revolutionary emerging technologies on global culture, industry and society, is unparalleled. Recognised for the past six years as one of the world’s foremost futurists, innovation and strategy experts Matthew is an international speaker who helps governments, investors, multi-nationals and regulators around the world envision, build and lead an inclusive, sustainable future. A rare talent Matthew’s recent work includes mentoring Lunar XPrize teams, re-envisioning global education and training with the G20, and helping the world’s largest organisations envision and ideate the future of their products and services, industries, and countries. Matthew's clients include three Prime Ministers and several governments, including the G7, Accenture, Aon, Bain & Co, BCG, Credit Suisse, Dell EMC, Dentons, Deloitte, E&Y, GEMS, Huawei, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Lego, McKinsey, PWC, Qualcomm, SAP, Samsung, Sopra Steria, T-Mobile, and many more.


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