Until recently, the best detection technology for weapons and dangerous substances was housed within the wet and friendly sniffer of man’s best friend. Additional progress has been made, but the primary hindrance to their use in warzones has been an inability to pick up reliable chemical signatures from a safe distance.
That’s probably why we hear more about armor than spectroscopy when discussing military technology.
However, Laser Detect System recently unveiled their SpectroDrone, which features the world's first sensor system capable of detecting explosives, IEDs and other hazardous materials or illegal substances from a safe distance - relatively speaking.
SpectroDrone utilizes multi-wavelength laser and electro-optical assemblies. This includes a high-resolution camera dedicated to target acquisition. A laser rangefinder then ensures the drone is close enough (within several meters) to get an accurate reading, and a laser illuminator bounces a signal off the target.
The signature given off by the target is delivered to state-of-the-art spectrometers and analyzed by proprietary software algorithms that calculate what the target is comprised of, based on the way it interacts with the energy given off by the laser.
According to LDS, the SpectroDrone’s payload is as accurate as laboratory equipment.
Currently, the system is attached to the Airobotics Optimus drone and its operating range of just under two miles.
In addition to its ability to detect and analyze explosives, hazardous compounds and narcotics, its surveillance capabilities and ability to transmit real-time data could aid in emergency response situations.
The SpectroDrone payload can also be mounted on ground robots or on fixed operations like vehicle inspection systems.