Laser Atlanta Awarded Patent for Ship Collision-Avoidance System
Laser measurement systems maker Laser Atlanta LLC announced it has been awarded a patent for a system that helps ships avoid colliding during supply transports and other at-sea maneuvers. The company received US patent 7,286,955 for its ship-proximity measurement system (Sprox) technology originally developed for the US Navy. The product was tested and is being approved for use by the fleet by the Naval Sea Systems Command as well as NATO operations, the company said. "We believe the enthusiastic response to the Sprox product's performance and capabilities will lead to it becoming the universal standard for proximity and collision avoidance at sea," said James Kelly, Laser Atlanta CEO. During naval operations, supply vessels must sail closely beside aircraft carriers and other ships to transfer goods, a procedure that requires a line strung between the side-by-side vessels to mark the space between them and often proves taxing to the captains and deck personnel. Laser Atlanta's Sprox system is portable and mounts to the rails of various types of ships. It uses laser beams to calculate the distance between ships three times per second, reporting that information via an electronic billboard display to the captains and deck personnel of both ships. The Atlanta-based company said it is also pursuing close-proximity applications in the commercial shipping and pleasure cruise industries for the product.