Teal Drones Launches the Teal 2, a Drone Made to Dominate Night Ops
BY Zacc Dukowitz2 May 2023
Teal Drones, a subsidiary of Red Cat Holdings, recently launched the Teal 2, a military-grade drone made for military, government, and commercial applications.
The new drone will be made in the U.S. at Red Cat’s factory in Salt Lake City, which was built in part to fulfill the high demand for its drones created by the company’s million dollar deal with the U.S. Border Patrol.
Red Cat is one of only three drone manufacturers invited to take part in the U.S. Army’s Short Range Reconnaissance Tranche 2 program, which seeks to produce a portable military sUAS for surveillance and reconnaissance operations.
And it looks like the Teal 2 fits the description. But it’s unclear if it will actually be granted the Pentagon’s Blue UAS designation, a term used for drones that have been approved for government use. As of writing this post, only the Golden Eagle is on that list from Teal’s offerings.
Credit: Teal Drones
One of the biggest selling points of the Teal 2 is that it has robust support for night ops, as indicated by the tagline Teal’s using to promote it—Dominate the Night.
Most military operations take place at night, and the Teal 2 is exactly the sUAS that [people] have been asking for. Teal 2 is designed to ‘Dominate the Night’ and arrives as the world’s leading small unmanned aircraft system for nighttime operations.
– Jeff Thompson, CEO of Red Cat Holdings
Of course, the Teal 2 also flies quite well during the day.
It comes with state-of-the-art intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) technology, making it a high quality tool for work in private security or reconnaissance during military operations, as well as for inspections or other common commercial applications.
Here are some highlights for the Teal 2:
- Multi-vehicle control. The Teal 2 supports multiple drones being flown by one pilot using Teal’s 4 Ship drone swarm system.
- Portable design. The Teal 2 has a compact and rugged design, making it easy to transport and deploy.
- Secure encryption. The Teal 2 provides a high level of security through its full encryption using the AES-256 standard, ensuring that data and communication remain confidential and protected from unauthorized access.
To support the Teal 2, Teal Drones has partnered with Reveal to offer software that creates near real-time 2D and 3D models using photogrammetry. It’s also partnered with Athena, an AI company that supports thermal AI, to help the Teal 2 fly at night without GPS.
How the Teal 2 Dominates the Night
Teal Drones has been focused on making drones for night ops for a while now.
Through a partnership between Teal Drones and Immervision, a Canada-based optical products manufacturer, Teal’s Golden Eagle now carries two low-light camera modules, making it a powerful option for flying at night and in low-light conditions.
The Teal 2 deals with night flying by using FLIR’s new Hadron 640R EO/IR payload, which is optimized for nighttime operations, enabling full night time operation and longer range detection
The Hadron payload has two systems for visualizing data—EO and IR:
- EO stands for Electro-Optical EO. The EO system converts light or changes in light into electronic signals for full visibility.
- IR stands for Infra-Red. The IR system identifies targets, tracks movement, and assesses threats more easily.
Below are two images captured by the Hadron 640R EO/IR payload of the same object, showcasing the difference between EO and IR. As you can see, the IR version makes it much clearer where the people are, using their heat signatures to visualize their presence despite the trees between them and the camera.
Credit: Teal Drones
FLIR was the first company to pioneer a stabilized EO/IR system, and the Teal 2 is the first drone to carry EO/IR technology.
Watch this video to see the Teal 2’s thermal visualization in action:
Why Are Night Ops Important?
Although night flying is now allowed by the FAA—so long as you have the proper lights—most drones can’t operate very well at night.
This poor performance is due to two factors. One, drone cameras generally aren’t made to take good pictures or videos in the dark. And two, most drone obstacle avoidance systems don’t perform well in the dark.
But there are reasons to want to fly in the dark.
The U.S. Border Patrol works 24 hours a day along the border. A drone that can “see” at night and operate well in the dark is a crucial tool for the work done by Border Patrol personnel, allowing them to gain remote intelligence about what is happening in the different areas they monitor.
Credit: Teal Drones
Security is another application where night ops are important, since nighttime is when break-ins are likely to occur. For companies who need to ensure the security of their warehouses or facilities, a drone that can navigate in the dark is a tool that could radically improve security.
And, of course, the ability to collect intelligence at night remotely is also useful for defense applications. A small, portable drone that can fly at night and provide clear visualizations of enemy movement—like the Teal 2 or the Golden Eagle—has clear benefits for military operations.
By setting its sights on dominating night ops, Teal Drones has carved out a clear niche for itself among drone companies seeking to cross over between military and commercial applications.
Visit the Teal Drones website to learn more about the Teal 2 now.