Panama City- A local company unveiled some new cutting edge technology today that is playing a role in national security. It's essentially a mobile surveillance system that can track intruders in almost any location. It's called RAPID which stands for Remote Automated Portable Intrusion Detection system.
"Rapid" is the brainchild of Applied Research Associates. The surviellance system uses a combination of radar, video and thermal imaging cameras as well as wireless communication for a wide variety of security situations. "When an intrusion occurs, the alarm goes off, the camera takes a snapshot of where the intrusion occurred and then it brings up live video and a thermal image. It also allows the operator to tilt up and down or pan in an investigative window," Andre Shipp, a principal engineer with Applied Research Associates, Inc.
It's relatively small, and able to be towed behind almost any vehicle. "It alleviates the need to lay any infrastructure and allows the operator to place the detection system in any area of concern," said Shipp. The system can be set up in 30 minutes or less.
It's also simple to use. Operators need five minutes of training and no tools are required for set-up. "Basically you start the system and it automatically loads and configures itself," said Shipp. Because of Rapid's unique features, Applied Research is marketing it to any company or agency that has both defined and changing boundaries to protect.
"This is a system that solves big problems for the military and for regional airports that have a need to defend a wide area without having to use tons of security forces personnel. There is talk of using it at Tyndall. There is also applications at the new airport possibly," said Chuck Red, manager of the North Florida Division of ARA.
And it's also green. "The solar panels provide power to the batteries. If you have cloudy conditions for more than 2 or 3 days Rapid also has a generator and a generator control module that will activate the generator automatically based on battery levels," said Shipp.
The federal government is exploring the use of system's like the Rapid to defend the U.S./Mexican border.