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Military Contractor BAE Systems Offers Unmanned Aircraft Technology to UK’s BMX Team

BAE Systems with the British Cycling BMX team

We get it, the military regularly gets most of the governmental cash, considering they’re in charge of protecting the nation from possible threats. Some people say the world would be better off without any need for military equipment, others claim weapons are cool. Either way, whenever we see one of these contractors doing something constructive with their technology, it feels right. 

This principle takes us to the eight-year partnership British military contractor BAE Systems has with UK Sport. During this collaboration, engineers at BAE Systems have been working with the country’s Cycling Team’s BMX squad to adapt hardware previously used in unmanned aircraft trials. In other words, they’re using military drone technology to improve riders’ performance.

According to the company, the project utilizes cutting edge optical sensor technology originally developed for the “sense and avoidance” system from a leading UAV technology demonstrator. “The sensors interact with miniature LEDs affixed to the BMX bikes to track the trajectory of the riders while on the ground and, critically, in the air,” BAE Systems explains.

The gathered information is then relayed to a specially designed app, which offers riders and coaches a real-time read-out of performance. Using this information comes quite in handy considering it enables them to identify where they can make those critical marginal gains.

It’s the company’s one of many other projects run along with UK Sport, and their science, medicine and technology arm, the English Institute of Sport. In fact, the weapons manufacturer is their official Research and Innovation Partner, as it is helping to support British sports and athletes ahead of major competitions such as Rio 2016.

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