Home Community GT Team Has Turned 600-lb Water Laser Into a Drone Friendly Size

GT Team Has Turned 600-lb Water Laser Into a Drone Friendly Size

by Tricia Whitlock

Bathymetric lidars are devices that map coastal waters using powerful lasers to scan beneath the surface.  At nearly 600 pounds, this machinery is large and requires a piloted aircraft to carry it. A team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) has designed a new approach that could lead to bathymetric lidars that are much smaller and more efficient than the current full-size systems.

“GTRI has extensive experience in atmospheric lidar going back 30 years, and we’re now bringing that knowledge to bear on a growing need for small, real-time bathymetric lidar systems,” comments Grady Tuell (pictured below), the principal research scientist who is leading the work.


More from the GTRI:

  • The new technology, developed under the Active Electro-Optical Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (AEO-ISR) project, would let modest-sized unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) carry bathymetric lidars, lowering costs substantially.
  • Unlike currently available systems, AEO-ISR technology is designed to gather and transmit data in real time, allowing it to produce high-resolution 3-D undersea imagery with greater speed, accuracy, and usability.
  • These advanced capabilities could support a range of military uses such as anti-mine and anti-submarine intelligence and nautical charting, as well as civilian mapping tasks. In addition, GTRI’s new lidar could probe forested areas to detect objects under thick canopies.
  • Tuell and his team have developed a new GTRI lightweight lidar, a prototype that has successfully demonstrated AEO-ISR techniques in the laboratory. The team has also completed a design for a deployable mid-size bathymetric device that is less than half the size and weight of current systems and needs half the electric power.

[Photo Credit: Main, Tuell Headshot]

You may also like