Navy Robocopters Hunt Down Pirates
April 9, 2012 5:14 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Walt Disney)
"Get me to the chopper!" -- new UAVs combined LADAR, infrared and traditional HD imaging
The U.S. Navy's
is armed to the teeth with the latest in
high-tech surveillance gadgets
. Equipped with a Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS) -- a package of HD cameras, mid-range infrared sensors and LADAR; a 3D mapping device that utilizes a long-range, high-res, eye-safe laser -- the robocopter, christened "Fire Scout", will patrol the high seas hunting for pirates.
Piracy has increasingly become a headache for industrialized nations -- and a chief priority for the
. The problem is that pirates typically pirate small, hard-to-detect ships, but have created huge disruptions hijacking fuel tankers and other pricey cargo in hopes of a ransom.
Many of the pirates come from impoverished regions like Somalia, which border shipping lanes from the Middle East.
The new copter is a possible solution, cooked up by the
Office of Naval Research
Naval Air Warfare and Weapons Department
Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division
Ken Heeke, ONR NAWWD program officer describes Fire Scout, stating, "Sailors who control robotic systems can become overloaded with data, often sifting through hours of streaming video searching for a single ship. The automatic target recognition software gives Fire Scout the ability to distinguish target boats in congested coastal waters using LADAR, and it sends that information to human operators, who can then analyze those vessels in a 3-D picture."
LADAR in action -- step 1, ship is spotted by system. [Image Source: Utah State Univ.]
LADAR in action -- step 2, the algorithms spot the ship in 3D. [Image Source: Utah State Univ.]
Dean Cook, principal investigator at the ONR NAWCWD adds, "The 3-D data gives you a leg up on target identification. Infrared and visible cameras produce 2-D pictures, and objects in them can be difficult to automatically identify. With LADAR data, each pixel corresponds to a 3-D point in space, so the automatic target recognition algorithm can calculate the dimensions of an object and compare them to those in a database."
The LADAR system is being
[PDF] in collaboration with
Utah State University
, a key academic partner.
More work has to be done testing-wise before this super-copter can get down to business battling the pirate masses. The algorithms have been tested by land-based systems
naval vessels, but the first air-to-naval tests will be conducted with a BRITE Star II turret aboard a larger manned helicopter.
If those tests go well, Fire Scout should be almost ready to take to the air, and pirates ought to be shaking in their boots.
Aside from pirates, the U.S. Navy is looking to use drone scouts for a variety of other
advanced sea warfare purposes
ONR [press release]
Utah State [LADAR PDF]
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
4/10/2012 9:13:14 AM
I read the article title and almost didn't want to read the article because I thought there would be no way the real story would live up to what I had concocted in my head.
RE: Article Title
4/10/2012 10:51:29 AM
It would be better if the title was "Navy Robocopters Hunt Down Naval Pirates", because most of us here probably think of piracy mainly in the software context, rather than taking over control by force of a ship sailing the high seas.
RE: Article Title
4/10/2012 3:01:04 PM
No, I was picturing flying robocops hunting down pirates of yore, eyepatches and wooden legs. As directed by Michael Bay.
"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
The Navy Unveils "Cicada": Now Even the Drones Have Drones
January 2, 2012, 6:36 PM
USMC Testing Unmanned Helicopter in Afghanistan
January 2, 2012, 8:30 AM
Sub-Launched "Switchblade" Drone Helps Guide U.S. Subs to Better Kills
December 26, 2011, 2:48 PM
Buzz Aldrin Says First Astronauts to Set Foot on Mars Should Never Return Home
July 9, 2014, 9:46 AM
Women May Soon Be Able to Control Their Fertility via Remote Control
July 7, 2014, 10:14 AM
Tiny "Bio-bots" Powered by Muscle Cells, Electrical Pulses
July 3, 2014, 7:00 PM
Boston Using Solar-Powered Benches as Phone Charging Stations
July 1, 2014, 1:09 PM
Hobby Lobby Ruling Raises Question -- Can Religious Doctors Deny Transfusions?
June 30, 2014, 7:57 PM
First Production HondaJet Takes to the Skies
June 30, 2014, 2:53 PM
Most Popular Articles
Apple's iPhone, iPad Update iOS 7.1.2 is Badly Broken for Some
July 8, 2014, 2:00 PM
Despite Legal Threats Google Begins Posting Warnings of ISP Throttling
July 7, 2014, 5:52 PM
Google Steps up Moral Censorship, Hogties All Ads With Sexual Content
July 4, 2014, 2:00 PM
Your Uncharged Smartphone, Tablet May Prevent You from Boarding U.S.-bound Flights
July 6, 2014, 11:11 PM
Report: Apple Nabs Sales Director from Watch Maker TAG Heuer
July 4, 2014, 1:48 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
Justice Leaks Details of Next HTC One Two Flagship Phone
Dec 5, 2013, 4:04 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information