Fort Benning shows off new unmanned helicopter technology - WRBL

Fort Benning shows off new unmanned helicopter technology

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Kids from CPD's D.A.R.E. Summer Camp explore the unmanned helicopter Kids from CPD's D.A.R.E. Summer Camp explore the unmanned helicopter
Wednesday the Maneuver Battle Lab at Fort Benning showed off some new unmanned aircraft technology.

The Lab has been working with the Georgia Technical Research Institute to develop an self-operating helicopter that has multiple advantages to a normal drone.

Georgia Tech's School of Aerospace Engineering has been working with the unmanned helicopter for more than ten years. It has been used for multiple advances in unmanned aircraft tech, and now it is helping the engineers develop new capabilities for the army.

Associate professor Eric Johnson is the director of the UAV Research Facility at Georgia Tech. He says, "Our vision for our lab is very safe operation, high reliability operation, high performance of helicopters in urban areas and potentially near people, so that implies a very high degree of safety.

Representatives of the Maneuver Battle Lab say working with Georgia Tech is key to staying on the cutting edge of technology. "We know how to use it as mission dictates," says SSG Douglas Briggs. "They're the experts as far as bringing us the technology. They're more advanced as far as the ability to improve the technology we look for. We just give them the mission sets that we're looking for."

The helicopter is different than your average drone, which is like a little plane that flies a straight path from point A to point B and back. The research helicopter is a prototype for an aircraft that will be able to do much more. With more than $50,000 in add-ons, including a sophisticated computer system, laser and multiple cameras, it demonstrates the technology that could one day be used to deliver supplies to troops in the field and do reconnaissance work.

SSG Briggs adds, "The new technology that we have gives us the opportunity to actually ID targets from a safe location and use our military assets to move and engage what we're looking at."

In August, the Maneuver Battle Lab will show off a new unmanned helicopter about ten times the size of the one shown.

Jessi Mitchell

Jessi joined the WRBL news team in October 2012 after working as a freelance production assistant for MTV Networks in Los Angeles.
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