July 21, 2010 | by Andrew Kameka
Military members always enter the battlefield with their gun and protective gear, but we’re closer to the day when soldiers have to double back to base if they forget to bring their Android device.
According to a report by Reuters, defense contractor Raytheon is developing Android software that could potentially scan a terrain for enemies, gather aerial surveillance images, or even use facial recognition software to track down criminals. It all sounds like it’s straight out of a spy movie, but Raytheon is very serious about making this a reality.
Mark Bigham, Raytheon’s VP for defense and civil mission solutions, told Reuters that it has added the software to Android handsets made by HTC and Motorola. He also said “Google has helped [Raytheon] push the limits of the phone.”
If this all sounds familiar, that’s because the Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) was previously covered back in October. Back then, it was known only to be able to track personnel and retrieve aerial footage. Raytheon has confirmed that the company has developed RATS to be a more powerful communications tool for the military, suggesting more possible uses. The U.S. Army, U.S. Special Forces, and an unnamed branch of the Indian Armed Forces are possible customers.
Also consider this: Raytheon has been developing RATS for two years, and previously tested only with the HTC Dream/G1. We’d have to imagine that their software is considerably faster and more inventive given how far Android has traveled as an OS and its accompanying hardware.