ROBOTIC aerial vehicles fitted with cameras are being investigated as a way to prevent terrorist attacks on US trains.

President Bush recently approved an appropriations bill awarding $200000 of federal funding to the GeoGraphics laboratory at Bridgewater State College, which is experimenting with model aircraft equipped with cameras to provide real-time video pictures to train drivers and control centres, giving warning of trouble ahead.

The technology has been developed by laboratory directors Larry Harman and Dr Uma Shama, working with research students.

'If we want to make a real difference in rail security, our local and regional transit authorities need information, co-ordination, and most of all, resources', said Rep Stephen Lynch, who helped secure the funding. 'I am pleased to see that the congress has recognised the innovation and leadership of the GeoGraphics Laboratory in developing new technologies to address these vulnerabilities on our railways.'