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
RE: Peace and prosperity, aka a job!
4/12/2012 12:57:29 PM
Being a pirate is probably more profitable than your job too. In fact, its probably many orders of magnitude more profitable than my job, or many others jobs too.
People turn to crime when they feel like they have nothing left to lose. This is relative from place to place, but for many Somalis, having a job is now something to lose.
The best solution is to rehabilitate the economy, and make the general populace feel safe. This is what is happening.
Of course, we could deploy more hideously expensive, error-prone robotic helicopters to take pictures of boats. That might work too.
"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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
Star Wars Spinoff Film "Rogue One", Theme Park Attractions Announced
August 17, 2015, 12:20 PM
SpaceX Falcon 9's Seventh Supply Mission to ISS Ends w/ Fiery Stage 1 Explosion
June 28, 2015, 1:10 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Most Popular Articles
Kentucky Man Faces up to 10 Years in Prison for Shooting Drone Trespasser
August 13, 2015, 2:58 PM
Microsoft's Windows 10 Leaves Lumia 530 Behind w/ 8 GB Storage Requirement
August 25, 2015, 4:02 PM
Best Buy Rapidly Ramps up Apple Watch Rollout After "Strong" Early Sales
August 26, 2015, 11:42 AM
Future of Lumia Uncertain as Microsoft Lays Off 2,300, Closes 1 of 3 Finnish Offices
August 24, 2015, 6:14 PM
Windows 10 Hits 75 Million Users; Grows Nearly 4x as Fast as Windows 7
August 28, 2015, 10:22 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information