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Proceedings Paper

Small power systems for law enforcement applications
Author(s): Paul E. Sims; Michael G. Mauk; Oleg V. Sulima
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Paper Abstract

Recent events have increased interest in the use of sensors by law enforcement and homeland defense related organizations. Autonomous sensors such as those under development for the Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) program are suitable for some of these applications. The operational lifetime of a UGS depends on the power consumption of the package and the space allocated for batteries. We survey and assess options for powering these devices ina long-term scenario. These alternatives are in various stages of development, and range from conventional batteries and solar cells that are ready for deployment and are now commercially available; to technologies developed for other applications (e.g., power for deep-space probes, man portable power for soldiers, or for sensors in oil drilling bore holes) that would need to be adapted to UGS's; to new and often speculative concepts that are in the laboratory or are still on the drawing board. Ideally, unattended ground sensors do not require servicing, re- energizing or refueling; and are capable of autonomous operation for weeks or even years. Further, UGS's may need to be used covertly, which restricts schemes that would provide a detectable signature. Reliability, ruggedness, cost, weight, size, camouflaging, use of toxic materials and other safety or disposal aspects, restrictions on their deployment (e.g., whether UGS's can be dropped form the air or whether they need to be uprighted or favorably oriented), storage and inventorying considerations, temperature ranges of operation, and complexity of associated electronics are also important issues. In this paper, we will limit the discussion to systems where operating power does not exceed 5 watts since larger systems are commercially available. Some subjectivity in comparisons is perhaps inevitable, but despite the disparate physics upon which these devices are based, a few common criteria can be invoked for discussing their suitability for energy storage and powering UGS's. Metrics can be developed to assess and compare options, but since most of the options are in very different stages of development, one is sometimes forced to use performance specifications that are predicted, rather than demonstrated. Thus, in some cases the comparisons are tentative or speculative.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 August 2002
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 4708, Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Defense and Law Enforcement, (14 August 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.479318
Show Author Affiliations
Paul E. Sims, AstroPower, Inc. (United States)
Michael G. Mauk, AstroPower, Inc. (United States)
Oleg V. Sulima, AstroPower, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4708:
Sensors, and Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Technologies for Homeland Defense and Law Enforcement
Edward M. Carapezza, Editor(s)

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