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11/05/18 Looking Ahead: Infrared LEDs and Autonomous Ships

Article - November 5, 2018 By LarsonElectronics.com

Infrared LED Light Bar - Extreme Environment - 80, 3-Watt LEDs - 9~42 Volts DC

Looking Ahead: Infrared LEDs and Autonomous Ships

The era of autonomous transportation, from trucks and passenger vehicles to ships and trains is just getting started. In the marine sector, autonomous navigation systems are expected to replace human crews, making marine-based operations safer, more efficient and less costly.

Solid-state LEDs play a very specific and vital role in navigational platforms for autonomous ships – specifically infrared LEDs. Read on to understand how cutting-edge infrared LEDs are utilized in futuristic vessels.


LIDAR, Cameras and Infrared LEDs

On autonomous ships, cameras equipped with infrared LEDs and LIDAR systems (scanning laser units for measuring distance and creating maps) are used to boost navigational accuracy during nighttime operation. Like driverless land-based vehicles, LIDAR is used by the modern vessels to detect obstructions and generate real-time images of the environment.

Infrared cameras enhance visuals at sea, which is very important for these types of vessels, as there is no human operator on board to assess the area. Instead, powerful computers use information from the cameras with infrared LEDs and external sensors planted around the ship, to determine the next course of action.

Remote human operators passively monitoring a network of autonomous ships from an off-site station or command center also rely on images generated by the infrared LED cameras. In the event of abnormal conditions at sea or a collision, remote operators must step in, override the autonomous functions and take manual control of the vessels (also known as human intervention).


Battling Rough Conditions

Infrared LEDs must be equipped with rugged features in order to withstand the rough nature of the ocean. Corrosion is a major issue for marine lighting equipment, hence infrared lamps on autonomous ships should be protected with anti-corrosive and waterproof housings or coatings. Sturdy mounting components with dampeners or rubber pads can be used to reduce heavy vibration experienced by the lights and cameras.





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