LiDAR Systems to Aid Explosive Ordnance Disposal

By Caroline Rees / 11 Oct 2021
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RedTail LiDAR Systems has delivered six Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) systems to the 707th Ordnance Company, stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, to allow Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) technicians to assess how LiDAR can be used to enhance their operations. 

Military Operator with RedTail LiDAR Systems RTL-450

The RTL-450 system was integrated onto the Teledyne FLIR SkyRaider Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to address EOD 3D mapping needs. Captain William R. Hartman, the commander of the 707th EOD Company, stated that the highlight of the testing was using the LiDAR system to map terrain.  

In addition to terrain mapping, the RTL-450 can be used to calculate crater volumes from Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blasts, perform route planning for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs), aid in mission planning, and conduct surveillance.  

The 3D maps, known as point clouds, allow operating areas to be viewed from any perspective using the rotation and zoom capabilities provided within the viewer software.

The underlying LiDAR technology used in the RTL-450 was licensed from the Army Research Laboratory (ARL).  The Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS) mirror-based design provides enhanced 3D imagery due to the fact that the laser pulses are steered to the ground in a well-defined and controlled scan pattern.  The LiDAR technology is ideal for applications where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) algorithms can be used for target detection and classification due to the high point density of the point clouds. 

The system can operate in either a raster scan mode for surveillance missions or a side-to-side line scan mode for area mapping while the UAS is flying. Intuitive command and control, high-brightness display integrated into the Ground Control Station (GCS), and real time 3D map generation allow operators to begin mission planning and analysis even before the mapping or surveillance missions are completed. 

“Delivering these six LiDAR systems to EOD technicians for test and evaluation is a significant step forward in using MEMS mirror-based LiDAR technology to address a broad range of Department of Defense 3D mapping needs,” said Brad DeRoos, President and CEO of RedTail LiDAR Systems. “In addition, this delivery represents a true success story in transitioning a technology out of a Department of Defense laboratory and back into the hands of military operators.”  

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Posted by Caroline Rees Caroline co-founded Unmanned Systems Technology and has been at the forefront of the business ever since. With a Masters Degree in marketing Caroline has her finger on the pulse of all things unmanned and is committed to showcasing the very latest in unmanned technical innovation. Connect & Contact
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