updated 06:50 pm EST, Wed December 16, 2009
Company also working on Android platform
The military contractor Raytheon recently introduced an iPhone app that allows users to track enemies and allies, according to the New York Times. The interface continuously updates positions for individuals and military units, plotting the locations on a map. Users can also securely communicate using the app, or receive notifications when arriving at particular areas.
"This is hypothetical, but if there is a building with known terrorist activities, it could automatically be pushed to the phone when the soldiers get near that area," said J Smart, chief technology officer for Raytheon's Intelligence and Information Systems division. "If there was another platoon that was supposed to arrive, and they were delayed, or ahead of schedule, you could adapt your plan."
The company is also working on integrating sensors that communicate with the handsets. Details have yet to be disclosed, although similar technology is used for monitoring vital signs or assisting medics.
Raytheon has expressed the need to modify the consumer iPhone for use on the battlefield. The militarized versions would benefit from ruggedized construction, larger batteries or replaceable cells, and multi-tasking for running concurrent app processes.
The defense contractor is eyeing other mobile platforms as well, including Google's Android OS. The Raytheon Android Tactical System (RATS) is geared for intelligence collection and analysis. The utilities would allow users to read license plates, stream camera feds, and gather biometric information such as facial recognition.