When this year’s Rio Olympics begin next week, more than 130,000 police, soldiers and security guards will be working to keep the Games safe, with the help of eye-in-the-sky monitors using cutting-edge, high-tech cameras.
Developed for the U.S. military and tested in Iraq and Afghanistan, a high-resolution imaging system called Simera will provide real-time video surveillance of an area of about 40 square kilometers.
From balloons anchored 200 meters above the ground, 13 high-resolution, 120-megapixel cameras will monitor the activity below. Operators will be able to aim the cameras in all directions and zoom in on vehicles and individuals. All video footage will be recorded, so any suspicious activity can be traced to its origin.
Simera’s manufacturer, U.S. company Logos Technologies, expects four of its systems to be deployed over four Olympic venues. A Brazilian aerospace company specializing in lighter-than-air aerostats, such as balloons or blimps, holds an $8 million contract to supply the cameras and associated equipment.
The opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics will take place Aug. 5 in Rio de Janeiro.