• Kachemak Research Development lands defense contracts around the world
By Sean Pearson
With perimeter security technology and defense system integration already in place around the globe, and military endorsements calling its underground vehicle inspection system the “most sophisticated, cutting-edge gating system we’ve ever seen,” Homer-based Kachemak Research Development, Inc. is beginning to turn a few heads in homeland security circles.
Under federal contract, KRD developed AutoScan™ several years ago to help soldiers and security personnel inspect vehicles for explosives and contraband. The corporation, owned and operated by President and CEO Colleen A. Riley, has seen remarkable interest in the high-tech security device. They currently market the system to public and private security interests to aid in terrorism prevention.
Many military bases and other facilities around the world routinely inspect vehicle undercarriages as an antiterrorism measure. However, most of these do so manually with mirrors and inspection pits, putting soldiers and security officers at risk.
What makes AutoScan™ attractive is that it can be placed in the roadway of an inspection point and capture images of vehicles’ undercarriages as they drive over it. Once captured, the images can be viewed from a safe distance on a computer monitor.
“The units both contain cameras, and when vehicles drive over them at a specific speed, the device scans the bottom of the vehicle,” KRD Technical Writer Joshua Riley explained. “The image is then sent up to the computers, where security personnel can look for anything out of the ordinary. It’s much better than just the manual inspection, because it’s very accurate and allows them to see everything.”
Riley said the program started at Utah State University, where the company worked in robotics.
KRD currently has offices in Homer, Utah and Florida, and continues to seek to bring jobs and technology to the Last Frontier through contracts with the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.
“We manufacture the units locally, and use a local welder,” Riley said. “We try hard to bring and build as much stuff up here as possible to strengthen the local economy.”
In late July, Alaska Congressman Don Young secured $6 million for Alaska projects of interest in H.R. 3326, the Department of Defense Appropriations Act, Fiscal Year 2010. Included in the proposed appropriations was $3 million allotted to the Under-Vehicle Inspection System, KRD, Inc. in Homer.
“We are not seeing any of that funding yet, and are a long way from counting on it for anything,” said Colleen Riley. “It still has plenty of hurdles to clear through the House before we see any of it, and it likely won’t end up being that much.”
Still, Rep. Young touted KRD’s system as one of incredible importance to ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“The two projects I was able to secure funding for are incredibly important projects and I’m proud of them,” Young explained. “I visited with KRD, Inc. last year, and viewed their Under-Vehicle Inspection System first-hand and can tell you that the advanced technology they have developed is of the greatest importance for the times we are living in.”
While her company awaits the outcome of federal funding decisions, Riley said she will continue to establish contracts and services with various security and military operations.
“It’s pretty cool to know that our products are all over the world now,” said Colleen A. Riley, KRD President and CEO. “We have systems set up everywhere from Central Asia to Turkmenistan, to Air Force bases, West Point and the New York National Guard.”
For further information about KRD, its products and services, visit the Web site at www.krdonline.com or call 226-2400.
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