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Lidar and Robots Being Tested by the U.S. Air Force

Boston Scientific Image Lidar and Robots
Lidar and Robots

Looks like the U.S. Air Force is becoming very interested in the combination of lidar and robots. In a recent article by Kelsey D. Atherton in Popular Science he explains why this powerful technology combination is presenting an increase in capability for the Civil Engineering team at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. A recent hurricane demonstrated the need for this remote sensing technology. Here is a portion of the article:

“What might it take to rebuild an Air Force base after a direct hit? In 2018, Hurricane Michael tore through Tyndall Air Force Base on the Florida panhandle, damaging planes and facilities alike. Restoring the place, while safeguarding against future disasters, is an ongoing task, and it’s one the Air Force is treating as a learning exercise. To that end, it’s experimenting with how laser sensors, on drones and robot dogs, can map damage before a human even has to set foot in a collapsing building.”

“Imagine being able to see the components of a potentially dangerous situation in live 3D and in fine detail without even having to survey the area,” says Brian Goddin, from the Air Force Installation and Mission Support Center public affairs, in a video produced by the military.

“As he speaks, the video highlights the interior of a garage. The laser-constructed vision is surreal, almost unearthly, with objects visible not as whole forms but instead reflected lines adjacent to each other in space. The imaging tool is lidar, which stands for light detection and ranging, and while the results are a little weird, it’s clear enough to showcase roof damage in the garage. Also visible is construction around the facility, and a large armored vehicle parked at the end.”

“Putting lidar on drones and on ground robots gives the military a way to map the interior of a building with a machine. With that lidar data transmitted to the computers in a command center, or even just the tablet of an operator sitting outside the building, a human can see what the robot sees, and direct the robot accordingly. (In the civilian world, lidar sensors are commonly used on self-driving cars as one tool for the vehicles to perceive the world around them.)”

For the complete article CLICK HERE.

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