Feeds

US Navy robot kill-choppers to drop auto-snort podules

Suspect sailors' crack sniffed out by droids

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The US Navy has awarded funds to develop a self-contained remote electronic sniffer unit which could be delivered to the holds of suspect vessels by a robot helicopter to detect "chemical, explosive, and illegal drug residues".

The Fire Scout robo-chopper in sea trials

Soon with droppable remote drug-sniffer bugs.

VIASPACE Inc, which spins off technologies from NASA, was pleased to announced today that its subsidiary company Ionfinity has won a $786k phase II deal from the US Navy Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programme. Ionfinity will now be expected to demonstrate a working "Miniature Electronic Sniffer for Navy Vertical Take off Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (VTUAVs)" within two years.

The USN is already well down the road to developing the robocopters themselves. The "Fire Scout" unmanned helicopter - also expected to see service with the US Army and possibly Coast Guard - has already had successful hands-off deck landing trials at sea, and operational testing is scheduled for next year aboard the frigate USS McInerney.

Fire Scouts can be fitted with various payloads including radars, electro-optical scanners and various kinds of weapons including "Advanced Precision Kill" smart rockets and "Viper Strike" glider smartbombs.

It now appears that the droid choppers will also be able to drop or lower automatic podules of some kind onto suspect merchantmen. The sniff units will be "completely self contained with respect to power and communications" and able to relay their findings back to the mother ship independently. They'll be able to detect drugs, explosives or other chemical residues of interest within seconds, apparently.

"This new sensor will change the paradigm used for future chemical detection and analysis, making it much more convenient, sensitive, selective and timely," said Ionfinity chief James Weiss.

The remote auto-snorto device will feature "soft-ionization" micro gas chromatograph tech spun off from gear developed by NASA for exploring Mars. It's possible that the whole robocopter ship deployment idea is inspired by the madly complex retro rocket sky-crane system NASA will use to land its new rock-sniffing droid tank on the Red Planet. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
WHY did Sunday Mirror stoop to slurping selfies for smut sting?
Tabloid splashes, MP resigns - but there's a BIG copyright issue here
Spies, avert eyes! Tim Berners-Lee demands a UK digital bill of rights
Lobbies tetchy MPs 'to end indiscriminate online surveillance'
How the FLAC do I tell MP3s from lossless audio?
Can you hear the difference? Can anyone?
Inequality increasing? BOLLOCKS! You heard me: 'Screw the 1%'
There's morality and then there's economics ...
Google hits back at 'Dear Rupert' over search dominance claims
Choc Factory sniffs: 'We're not pirate-lovers - also, you publish The Sun'
EU to accuse Ireland of giving Apple an overly peachy tax deal – report
Probe expected to say single-digit rate was unlawful
While you queued for an iPhone 6, Apple's Cook sold shares worth $35m
Right before the stock took a 3.8% dive amid bent and broken mobe drama
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.