[Image: The Sky Sapience HoverMast, via sUAS News].
The Israeli-made HoverMast is a “tethered hovering platform specially designed for small vehicles.” As the consistently fascinating sUAS News explains:
At the click of a button, the system autonomously deploys, rising to heights of up to 50 meters within 10-15 seconds. Secured by a cable, serving as a power supply and wideband data link, the highly stabilized HoverMast [… can also be mounted with sensing gear…] such as electro-optic sensors, laser designators, radar, and sophisticated COMINT and ELINT systems.
While the HoverMast (also called “Sky Sapience”) is currently being pitched to the only market that can afford it right now—that is, state-funded militaries, contractors, and police organizations—the availability of these and other semi-autonomous data gathering systems will continue to increase for the civilian realm (i.e. scientists, designers, artists, cartographers, and, as a lengthy new piece on Australia’s ABC News explores, journalists).
But what are the architectural possibilities for tethered sky masts and other instant cities made from semi-autonomous drone infrastructure? Film sets dramatically gridded with airborne towers, capturing every detail from previously impossible angles; roads appearing in the middle of nowhere, marked only by illuminated HoverMasts popping-up in lieu of street lights; cities in a blackout throwing ad hoc masts of light up into the urban sky; pop-off architectural ornament that rises, tentacular, from rooftops to catch better cell phone signals; and so on.