Electronic Design

Mercury Unmanned Aircraft To Monitor Wildfires

The U.S.D.A. Forest Service's Remote Sensing Applications Center selected Mercury Computer Systems to support two of its wildfire monitoring and forest mapping projects. The Center will use Mercury's VistaNav-SSR (Smart Surveillance and Reconnaissance) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) that includes a ground control station, a 3D Synthetic Vision, and a small unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The system has miniaturized airborne and mission computing image processing capabilities that aid oil and gas pipeline monitoring, border surveillance, forest fire detection and monitoring, precision agriculture, and more. "Flying above fire at night can be dangerous for manned aircraft, and low-level manned aircraft flights are not currently utilized for safety reasons," Philippe Roy, general manager of the avionics and unmanned systems group at Mercury, said in a statement. "Unmanned aircraft systems can fly long missions, survey wildfire sites at low altitude, and transmit critical data to enable more informed decisions more quickly." The Remote Sensing Applications Center, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, assists field units that use geospatial technology to map and monitor natural resources.

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