Assisted by drones, or remotely operated
Applications for border patrol, UXO detection and agricultural / disease control
Hov Pod Hovercraft are working with suppliers of UAV technology to configure and supply unmanned hovercraft to suit various applications.
There are many applications for unmanned hovercraft, to include border patrol, flood rescue and relief, ice and mud rescue, and for agricultural applications to deliver fertiliser or herbicides, and to control pests such as mosquitoes that spread disease and affect local economies. Hovercraft can access areas that other vehicles and boats cannot reach – boats have propellers that can be easily damaged by mangrove roots, rocks and coral.
Remote operation for surveillance and defence applications
Unmanned hovercraft will either work under the direction of remote operatives, particularly for border patrol, to deter smugglers and drug or people traffickers, and may deploy night vision cameras or weapons. Drone operatives work at long range and can guide the hovercraft visually by on-board camera in real time, or assisted by hovering drones that direct hovercraft to where they are required. Hov Pod already supply hovercraft configured with GPS mapping software and ground survey equipment to detect and map unexploded ordnance in areas that need re development, e.g. desert areas where new power or pipelines need to be installed. Hovercraft UXO detection speeds up the process of detection and reduces the costs associated.
GPS Waypoints for agricultural applications
It will also be possible to allow the hovercraft to run autonomously for delivery of fertiliser or herbicides to rice paddies following a flight path set according to a GPS waypoint plan.
The benefit of unmanned operations is the increased payload – by removing the weight of a pilot, extra payload can be carried, extending the range through additional fuel. This method of delivery could have a part to play to help eradicate mosquito larvae to halt the spread of diseases like Malaria.
The new Hov Pod Carbon Infinity 120HP Turbo is the world’s first production Carbon Fibre / hybrid hovercraft which due to the lightweight properties of Carbon Fibre can carry half a tonne in weight from an on-water start. This model is proving very popular for rescue and military applications.
Unmanned hovercraft for rescue
Hovercraft help save victims from drowning during flooding emergencies, and can hover over fast running shallow waters where boats cannot navigate. An unmanned hovercraft could also be deployed to reach victims who have fallen through thin ice or are stuck in tidal mud. In 2004, at least 21 illegal alien Chinese Coolie cockle labourers were drowned by an incoming tide off the Lancashire/Cumbrian coast in the UK – rescue boats were unable to reach victims in time.