By Cameron Chai
Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is now defending himself against a robot. The Aeryon Scout is a drone that was created by graduate students at the University of Waterloo. It can fly 500 meters off the ground, use a camera to take pictures and stream video. It is being employed by Rebels who are fighting against Gadhafi.
The Aeryon Scout drone.
The unarmed Aeryon Scout is setting the rebels back about $100,000, but reduces the risks to human casualties. The battery powered robotic drone is small and easily handled as it can fit into a suitcase. It is manufactured by the Canadian startup company Aeryon Labs inc based in Waterloo.
The company said that it supplied one Aeryon Scout Micro UAV unit to the Libyan Transitional National Council to help them identify enemy locations. The unit looks like a toy helicopter and weighs just 1.3 kg. It sends back images and video in real time to smart phones like BlackBerry's and iPhone's.
Zariba Security Corporation is an Ottawa based private security firm that delivered the robot drone to Libya and conducted a couple of days of training for the rebels as well. Charles Barlow from Zariba Security Corporation said that the UAV had been in action without incident since, both during day and night, using a heat-seeking thermal camera.
Barlow was a major in the Canadian military prior to working with Zariba Security. He said that the rebels were driving down the roads and somebody was shooting at them while they were trying to find where Kadhafi forces were, and so they were desperate to come up with some sort of imagery solution to locate them.
Souce: Aeryon Labs