MLB Co. (USA)
A variety of methods have been proposed to increase the safety of these convoys, including constant airborne surveillance of the convoy and convoy route using unmanned aerial vehicles. MLB has developed and tested a new convoy-following mode of operation for its Bat mini-UAV. The concept is based on automatic coordination between the convoy and the UAV, by means of GPS location signal, relayed from the convoy to the UAV, which coordinates its flight with the convoy while automatically aiming its gimbaled camera. The focus point of the camera can be on the vehicle itself or a point of interest at an offset distance. The UAV updates its flight path continuously to keep its sensor aimed at this focus point. The UAV will follow the convoy wherever it goes, without preplanning or maneuver restrictions. For example, when the convoy stops, the UAV automatically enters an orbiting mode and keeps its camera fixed on the stopped vehicles. When traveling at speed, the Bat moves into fixed formation but aims its camera at a desired location relative to the convoy. Video from the Bat is received in the convoy vehicles and may also be sent back to a stationary base.
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