Custom Consoles technical furniture chosen for Southampton University video drone control vehicles

ASTRA (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft)

Custom Consoles has completed a suite of technical furniture for Southampton University. Working in partnership with Alton-based systems integrator Broadcast Networks, the project included a control suite and support facilities for each of two vehicles required to control flying drones and other forms of robotic device.

This activity forms part of the university's engagement in a wide range of research programmes such as ASTRA (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) which aims to provide very low cost platforms for science missions such as pollution monitoring and weather prediction.

The interior of one of the two vehicles


"The challenge was to fit four control and video monitoring positions into each of two Mercedes Sprinters," comments Broadcast Networks' managing director Tom Haye. "Custom Consoles worked from our drawings and produced a very space-efficient desk complete with overhead storage bays and auxiliary facilities. The desks are finished in maple with blue Marmoleum work surfaces and blue laminates. Each operator has access to a 24 inch video display and a 1 rack unit control panel set into the desk top. Key considerations were obviously good ergonomics, robust construction, attractive styling and avoidance of excessive weight. This solution has proved effective on every count."

"This project clearly demonstrates our ability to provide technical furniture for locations where space and weight are important factors," adds Custom Consoles' sales manager Gary Fuller. "The configuration created in partnership with Broadcast Networks makes very efficient use of the available dimensions."


Broadcast Networks is a leading independent systems integrator of high quality broadcast and digital media solutions, serving an international client base. With more than 20 years experience, it specialises in the design and implementation of HD and SD master control rooms, studio systems, outside broadcast vehicles, on-location communications, satellite uplinks and facilities for streaming media. Broadcast Networks' headquarters are in the UK, with a regional office in Amsterdam.

Founded in 1996, Custom Consoles Ltd is an ISO 9001 certified manufacturer of project-specific and modular broadcast, process-control and security furniture. The product range includes motorised, manually-adjustable and fixed-height units plus fan-cooled sound-insulated equipment housings.

Custom Consoles operates from a 1,200 square metre UK-based production facility equipped with 3D computer-aided-design and computer-controlled cutting machinery. This provides the dual benefits of precise quality control and prompt delivery times, typically 21 days from receipt of order. The company's clients include broadcasters, production and post-production studios, governmental and corporate organisations in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia.