he U.S. Navy recently conducted successful flight tests of a UAV carrying an aerial laser system designed to map the ocean floor in shallow water areas. While details are scarce, we know that the tests used a Light Detection and Ranging, or LIDAR, system aboard a small unmanned helicopter. While such a system could be an important tool for making detailed topographic maps of waterways and littoral areas, there could be other potential applications of well beyond general cartographic ones.
The tests were conducted by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Research (ONR) in conjunction with Shiebel, makers of the CAMCOPTER S-100, the helicopter drone used in the tests. According to NavalNews.com, the tests took place on the commercial vessel Richard L. Becker off the coast of Pensacola, Florida. Hans Georg Schiebel, Chairman of the Schiebel Group, says this his company is proud to showcase the CAMPCOPTER’s capabilities to the Navy in the tests, adding that “we operate extensively on land and at sea and we are confident that our unmanned solution is also the right fit for the US Navy.”