Three days in remote conditions? Challenging, for sure. But, when it comes to situational awareness, PAR Government soars – just as it did during Tough Stump’s second Technology Rodeo held in Alder, MT.
Tim at Ruby Peak holding TAK flag
Highlighting PAR Government product capabilities during the event were Verne LaClair and Tim Peterson. Held within the vicinity of Upper Canyon Outfitters, attendees, “put tech on the table, and pulled the covers off,” LaClair, product manager at PAR Government, said.
“This event is a chance to test in a realistic environment,” he continued. “We were offline, self-contained, and 40 miles from the nearest cell tower.”
Think of this as more of a show, rather than a tell. Unlike typical trade show demonstrations this event – in rugged, disconnected terrain – put products in action. Attendees talked collaborative efforts and worked together to solve communication capabilities.
See Spot. See Spot Go. Like operating an unmanned ground vehicle (UGV), LaClair ran Boston Dynamics’ Spot. Spot’s platform allows installation of multiple sensors to automate data collection. The agile robot navigates terrain while capturing data in difficult to access environments.
Using a tablet controller and designed for easy setup, this customizable product operates with Boston Dynamics applications or with a third-party payload. This is where PAR’s video capabilities come into play.
With the robot, “we could streamline video from Spot to the entire group via (Team Awareness Kit) TAK,” LaClair said. “Once you establish a live video link, this opens up the possibility to operate Spot from virtually anywhere.”
Reaching Over the Range While LaClair trialed Spot, Peterson, manager of sales and marketing, demonstrated ATAK mobile application’s communications and surveillance capabilities, including Sit(x)TM. The PAR product connected to the team using mesh and manet radios. Used by surveillance drones the radios ensure safe transmission of high volumes of data and video on multiple frequencies.
The technology was deployed at a test site in the Ruby Mountain range, located 30 km away from Upper Canyon Outfitters. Peterson said the state-of-the-art testing connected with just “three hops,” using one repeater antenna at the outfitters, another at the highest peak within Ruby range, and the third at Granite Ranch. In addition, goTenna’s weather balloon, reaching 111,000 feet, tested connectivity limits. The connection lasted two hours.
“Being at the Tough Stump Tech Rodeo was something we wanted,” Peterson said. “We wanted to show face, to show our capabilities. Sit(x)TM was what everyone was using to connect to each other, which is great.”
In years past, technology development progressed in a contained environment. Today, Peterson said, events like this are more common, and show a quest for cooperation.
“This was done all in collaboration with other companies,” he said. “We all work in the same customer environment. Therefore, why not all come together to work for the customer? It just makes sense.”
Host Tough Stump is a veteran-owned small business focused on remote sensing technologies, small unit tactics, small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) operations, and air-to-ground integration.
The event sponsors included goTenna, Hexagon US Federal, senseFly, SkyBridge Tactical, and Teledyne Technologies. Joining PAR Government at the Rodeo were Bryodyn Technologies, Domo Tactical Communications, Doodle Labs, Hoverfly Technologies, OptoKnowledge Systems, Red Research Group, SFL Scientific, ShadowTech, Silvus Technologies, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC), TrellisWare Technologies, and ViaSat.
Event observers included representatives from federal agencies and the Department of Defense, including the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the Secret Service; local and regional law enforcement, including members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department; forestry, search and rescue, and various first responders.
Note: Many thanks to Lisa V. Lupo who provided on-the-scene photos. Visit her at lisaveephoto.com.