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Unmanned Vehicles: In the Air, On Land and at Sea

NCJ Number
Homeland Defense Journal Volume: 6 Issue: 3 Dated: 2008 Pages: 6,8,9
Don Philpott
Date Published
3 pages
This article explains how unmanned vehicles (robots) are being used in domestic law enforcement, firefighting, military operations, underwater protection, and medical services.
In domestic law enforcement, robots equipped with cameras are being used to feed back images of an incident and/or location that will enable police officials to assess the characteristics and severity of an incident. Robots can also climb stairs and pick up objects and place them in safe containers. Robots are also revolutionizing firefighting. One of the major players in this arena is the LUF60TM, a Mobile Firefighting Support Unit from Singer Associates. It can clear away smoke, heat, and toxic gases, allowing firefighting and rescue teams to approach a fire area more safely. Military operations are assisted by the KB4 KillerBee Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, integrated with a Boeing-built Automatic Identification System (AIS) sensor and communications data link. Flying at 5,000 feet, the KillerBee with its AIS payload has increased the sensor coverage area 100 times over existing ship-based equipment. It provides superior real-time imagery of targets. In the area of underwater protection, underwater robots are being used to protect vessels at sea and in ports. The Hovering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (HAUV) being developed by Bluefin Robotics Corporation will provide the flexibility of autonomous operations in detailed surveys of large marine structures in order to detect explosives. Imaging sonar provides both detection and classification of contacts. In the area of medical services, robotic technology can provide healthcare workers with assistance in the labor intensive hospital or clinical workplace, augmenting human physical capabilities and performing some regular, repetitive tasks. These include helping a patient sit up in bed or moving a patient from a gurney to a hospital bed. Specifications of particular robots in the aforementioned arenas are provided.