Tricked out Ford Escape passes test run at Daytona Beach International Airport
Last month, a student-faculty team from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University used a Ford Escape hybrid car equipped with a GrayMatter Autonomous Vehicle system, GPS
and 64 lasers to successfully guide the vehicle around the perimeter of Florida’s Daytona Beach International Airport on a pre-determined track. The event is believed to be the first successful test of a completely autonomous, self-guided airport security vehicle that could be used to guard an airport perimeter.
During the test runs, the truck’s onboard equipment created and compared high-resolution images and scanner data to detect airport incursions, wildlife activity or damage to fences and airport grounds. The vehicle’s systems report any security concerns to human security patrols.
“The technology being developed by Embry-Riddle and tested here represents the leading edge of airport safety and security advancements,” said Daytona Beach airport director Rick Karl “We’re pleased to support and partner with Embry-Riddle to encourage such important research.” Project co-director Dr. Charles Reinholtz commented, “There are thousands of airports and other facilities where autonomous robotic systems could be used to monitor the perimeter more effectively than humans.”
The robotic security vehicle was a joint endeavor of the university’s mechanical engineering and engineering physics departments sponsored by Ignite, Embry-Riddle’s undergraduate research initiative.