Navy to Use Robocopters to Catch Pirates

Drones to be equipped with laser sensors

Somali pirates, 2008

Somali pirates, 2008     Photo: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons

The U.S. Navy plans to begin using robotic helicopters to catch pirates in congested coastal waters, the Office of Naval Research announced last week. In a press release on April 5, the ONR said it plans to equip unmanned Fire Scout helicopters with software that will recognize potential pirate boats. The helicopters will use laser-radar imaging and cameras to flag threatening boats for a follow-up review by helicopter operators. Initial testing of the technology is scheduled to take place off the California coast this summer.

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