A Texas-based UAV company that tracks explosive football tackles hopes to soon track unexploded ordinance in an effort to save lives.
Arch Aerial of Houston has launched a Kickstarter campaign to deploy Light Detection And Ranging (LiDar) drones to Laos and other nations to help locate unexploded ordnance. During the Vietnam Conflict, the U.S. jettisoned around 2 million tons of explosives on the nation to curtail North Vietnamese front-line advances. Today, those areas still hold tons of explosives in the ground, requiring people on the ground to seek out and remove the devices without exact guidance – often leading to death and dismemberment.
The Kickstarter campaign (with a goal of $50,000) is a departure from Arch’s previously more playful UAV market – college football. As reported in DRONELIFE, Arch recently offered their drones for use by college teams – like Rice University – in filming football practice sessions.
CEO Ryan Baker said the company decided to reevaluate their priorities:
“How can [drones] be used not only for novelty – but for good? In setting out to answer this question, we found that not only do they have the ability to affect positive change, they also have the chance to save innocent lives.”
Baker wants to use the Kickstarter campaign to develop a heavy-lift drone (up to 14 pounds of payload) that can map unexploded ordinance (UXO) “through identification of the impact signatures in both forested and agricultural areas.” The UAV would “draw” 3D topographical models that can be used by humanitarian organizations such as the Lao National Unexploded Ordnance Programme for precise removal.
“These munitions still affect daily life in the region and hamper economic growth,” Baker said. “Through the development on an unmanned aerial system that maps UXO in agricultural and forested areas, personnel can survey for ordnance without endangering themselves or the local population.”
For example, developers have launched the “Humanitarian UAV Map’” (HUM) project linking to the Humanitarian UAV Network, a “global volunteer network of professional, civilian and responsible hobbyist UAV pilots who facilitate information sharing, coordination and operational safety in support of a broad range of humanitarian efforts.”
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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