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Blackbird robotic aerial security drones take flight in Australia with Department 13 partnership



  • Department 13 International has teamed up with US drone hardware expert Nightingale Security to bring the game-changing Blackbird drones to Australia.
  • Blackbirds use advanced robotics and AI to run autonomous scheduled perimeter patrols and respond to emergencies in a matter of seconds, providing 24/7, mission-ready surveillance and situational awareness.
  • RGB-visible light and thermal imaging cameras provide live-streaming vision to anywhere in the world, helping businesses protect critical infrastructure and people with complete situational awareness over their assets in real-time.


Advanced drone technology and solutions company Department 13 International has partnered with one of the world’s leaders in superior drone equipment to introduce the game-changing Blackbird aerial robotic security (RAS) system to Australia for the first time.

Department 13 said the Blackbird, developed by highly-respected Nightingale Security, uses cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology to deploy autonomous drones that run perimeter patrols of critical infrastructure and automatically respond to emergencies in a matter of seconds providing live-stream video to a security team anywhere in the world. It can also be used manually to respond to major events such as an oil spill, chemical leak or fire to help monitor and provide intelligence of the situation as it happens.

Chief executive officer Lee Croft said Nightingale is a leading drone supplier to Department 13, which launched worldwide this year under new ownership and management, and opened a new office in Canberra to bring its industry-leading drone systems and solutions to the Asian-Pacific market.

Mr Croft said the Blackbird system was a huge step forward in infrastructure protection and management, with Fortune 100 companies such as Lockheed Martin, Sanofi and Siemens, along with government agencies and military and defence installations, already making it a critical part of their high-tech, 24/7 security solutions.

“This is cutting-edge technology for those serious about keeping their businesses, people and infrastructure safe any time of the day or night,” Mr Croft said.

“It’s a system that needs to be seen in action to truly understand how far drone technology has come and just what a fully networked, integrated system is capable of. We can even identify unauthorised drones in your airspace.

“Department 13 is striving to lead and innovate sUAS and counter-sUAS technology and we have an unparalleled commitment to delivering the highest quality technology, patents and services in our industry.

“Bringing the Blackbird to Australia is a no-brainer. Nightingale’s reputation in the advanced sUAS technology industry is second-to-none around the world and we believe Blackbird will be a game-changer for local businesses looking to make intelligent, autonomous drones part of their security and situational awareness solutions” said Mr Croft.


The Blackbird drone and base station.


Nightingale’s system has both RGB-visible light and thermal capabilities and can be programmed to conduct scheduled autonomous patrols based on day, time, path, altitude, hover duration or camera direction.

The drones operate from extra-strength covered base stations installed on rooftops and other secure locations. Base stations can be networked to work together, are always mission-ready to deploy drones in a matter of seconds and provide real-time situational awareness.

With features including precision landing, self-charging, US Army-vetted end-to-end encryption for secure data-transmission, data integrity and data storage and networking, they are ready to go 24/7.

“And the magic that ties all of this together is the service-based offering that Nightingale and Department 13 provide, complete with maintenance, repairs, upgrades and whole of life support,” said Mr Croft.

The Blackbird seamlessly integrates with Department 13’s DIAL and Atlas software and programming to provide elite remote situational awareness and operations, which incorporates superior drone software and patent technology to detect, identify, locate and manage response and monitoring services.

“Together, Blackbird, DIAL and Atlas create a higher drone ecosystem so customers will receive a turn-key solution that gives them aerial situational awareness where and when they need it without needing to figure out how to operate a drone fleet themselves” Mr Croft said.

Nightingale Security chief executive officer Jack Wu said businesses invested millions, sometimes billions of dollars developing their facilities, and systems such as Blackbird should be an integral part of protecting their investments and people. The integration opportunities into operational systems and processes are endless.

“Some may already be using hand-held drone systems but they lack the high level security software protocols built into systems like the Blackbird, and we guarantee they will not have the safety, compliance and assimilation features we have when used in conjunction with Department 13’s technology,” Mr Wu said.

“Relying on human operators also limits the speed at which autonomous systems such as the Blackbird can respond, particularly when time is an imperative factor. Our systems are ready to go 24/7 and in the air in seconds. It’s an insurance policy that can save time, money and lives.

“We’re partnering with Department 13 as we’re both aligned with bringing a new level of effective, military grade, reliable eyes in the sky to clients in the southern hemisphere” said Mr Wu.

Click here for further information on the Blackbird.


Taking flight in Australia to assist with infrastructure protection and management.

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