The US Navy is planning to deploy robot helicopters to help scan the seas for pirates. The Office of Naval Research recently detailed the new system it calls Multi-Mode Sensor Seeker (MMSS), which involves high-definition cameras and sensors along with 3D imaging laser-radar, or LADAR, technology.
The new system will be deployed on Fire Scout drones, which have already been helpful at catching cocaine smugglers at sea. With the added 3D radar scanning technology, the drones will be able to automatically compare the 3D images of boats to those of pirate boat profiles on record. This capability will ease the work load on Navy sailors, who would otherwise have to manually comb through an overwhelming amount of data.
The new technology improves on the traditional targeting and infrared imaging, which were less exact. The first test of the new MMSS system with LADAR is set to take place this summer using seven small boats off the coast of California.