What Are Unmanned Systems?

Unmanned systems are remotely controlled or autonomous vehicles capable of maneuvering in the air, on the ground and above or under the water. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, all designed to extend human potential. Unmanned systems are viable for a broad range of civilian, military and commercial uses. Most recently, they have evolved in the civilian market to provide more efficiency, save money, enhance public safety and even save lives.

These systems enable us to execute dangerous and/or difficult tasks safely and efficiently for longer periods of time. Around the world, unmanned systems are being used to monitor infrastructure, aid in search and rescue efforts and provide rapid delivery to aid organizations.

Each year, state and local governments around the globe spend millions of dollars on search and rescue, disaster preparedness, law enforcement, fire prevention and other critical services. Unmanned systems allow those agencies to accomplish those same tasks more efficiently and less expensively, saving time, taxpayer dollars and lives in the process.

How They Help

How They Work

On the ground

  • Cleaned up the reactors at Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan after the devastating earthquake. Learn more HERE .
  • Provided new mobility through driverless cars. Learn more HERE.
  • Expanded the possibilities in mining, reaching areas that are too dangerous for humans. Learn more HERE and HERE.
  • Replicated the movement of snakes to enable the unmanned system to adjust to various terrains, slopes and crevices during search and rescue missions. Learn more HERE.
  • Protected endangered gopher tortoises by burrowing beneath the ground and tracking the species. Learn more HERE.

In the air

  • Detected marine debris off the coast of O’ahu, including debris from the Japan tsunami. Learn more HERE.
  • Delivered up to 3,000 lbs of packages to shore and ship to avoid potentially dangerous helicopter or aircraft landings. Learn more HERE.
  • Contributed to the seizure of thousands of pounds of narcotics. Learn more HERE.
  • Monitored flooding of the Red River in North Dakota. Learn more HERE.
  • Patrolled the Bolivian and Brazilian borders to control drugs and smuggling. They also have been purchased for police use during the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics in Brazil. Learn more HERE.
  • Utilized in search-and-rescue efforts for a downed pilot by the Israel air force. Learn more HERE.
  • Helped to survey mines in Queensland and Western Australia. Learn more HERE.
  • Located blossoming opium fields in China. Learn more HERE.
  • Photographed and monitored wildlife in the Everglades including waterfowl and alligators. Learn more HERE.
  • Sprayed difficult-to-reach rice fields with thousands of unmanned systems, while also monitoring the health of the crops. Learn more HERE.

In the water

  • Provided enhanced mine-hunting capability by detecting and identifying floating and sea-floor mines. Learn more HERE.
  • Deployed to gather information on the presence of oil in the Gulf waters after the BP oil spill. Learn more HERE.
  • Carried advanced sensor payloads and “Tweeted” water quality conditions to interested followers. Learn more HERE.
  • Travelled across globe providing data to help scientists better understand how climate change is affecting the ocean. Learn more HERE.
  • Provided researchers with data on the oceans’ health. Learn more HERE.
  • Surveyed ship hulls for mines. Learn more HERE.