The crucial role of AI on board drones for improving ISR capabilities

The crucial role of AI on board drones for improving ISR capabilities

Mark Palmer, Technical Director of Sensitive vision systemsadvocates for AI to bring real-time intelligence and operational decisions to military drone missions.

Keynote presentation at the AAUS (Australian Association of Uncrewed Systems) conference at GROUND FORCES 2022Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia

Full conference program details: Autonomy in the Joint Military Battlespace

BRISBANE, Queensland, Australia, – September 20, 2022 — Operational drone mission success will increasingly depend on on-board AI (artificial intelligence) to provide ISR/ISTAR (intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance) in a range of domains, including increasingly complex land and battlespace terrain.

Lessons learned in theater in Ukraine demonstrate the need for real-time intelligence – and that demands AI-enabled surveillance technologies, including moving image capture to identify threats and provide location and location. target coordinates. “The absence of AI-based technologies will effectively make the difference between ISR mission success and failure. Military commanders ignore at their peril the deployment of data-rich sensors that can provide immediate intelligence” , is the stern warning from Mark Palmer, CTO of Melbourne-based global technology company Sentient Vision Systems, which provides AI-powered autonomous search and detection on land and sea.

Palmer will give a presentation titled “Benefits of AI onboard UAS for improving ISR capabilities” at 1:30 p.m. on the second day of the AAUS (Australian Association of Uncrewed Systems) conference to be held alongside the exhibition LAND FORCES 2022 Defense Force in Brisbane, Australia.

In this presentation, Palmer will discuss the benefits of having AI on board to dramatically increase the operational ISR capabilities of UAS platforms.

“With the reduction in size, weight and power of many ISR sensors, UAS platforms can capture far more data than can be transferred to the ground,” says Palmer. who leads the teams of engineers and scientists at Sentient Vision Systems, pioneers of ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging), the world’s first optical radar.

Palmer cites growing awareness among force commanders pointing to the crucial role of sensors, including Air Force Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich, who plans to merge information from various platforms. airborne forms to give troops a more complete understanding of what is happening in the airspace around them. Grynkewich explained in a recent State Department briefing: “We are looking at the potential for improved use of drones – not the type of drones we have used in the past, but smaller, cheaper, that we can put into network in a way,” he said. “We are looking at the unique placement of sensors that we can install at high altitudes to develop broad situational awareness.”

The Sentient sensor portfolio includes ViDAR™ Land, a next-generation AI-enabled Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) system providing continuous daytime (EO) and nighttime (IR) monitoring. It can autonomously detect, filter, classify and track thousands of objects and helps the operator focus only on the targets of interest. It can detect both moving vehicles and people in a wide area.

With over 3,500 systems deployed, Sentient’s solutions improve the performance of EO/IR operations for many agencies and forces around the world with applications such as:

– Search and rescue operations at sea

– Military intelligence and surveillance operations

– Police detection and prevention of illegal activities, including smuggling, narcotics interdiction, anti-piracy and illegal fishing

– Border protection and detection of migrant activity

The ViDAR software scans the image stream from the electro-optical and/or infrared sensor at 180 degrees to detect targets invisible to a human operator. It then places a thumbnail image on the operator’s screen showing the bearing and range of the target, allowing automated cross-spotting by the inspection turret. When searching for small objects, including individual people, ViDAR has up to 300 times better search coverage than an aircraft without ViDAR, which means more surveillance and lower mission costs.

ViDAR milestones include:

  • Received a $2.1 million Australian government grant to establish an in-house sovereign manufacturing facility for its state-of-the-art ViDAR research and surveillance solutions. Sentient’s grant was awarded under the Translation Stream of the Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI) of the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER). Once implemented, it will enable volume manufacturing in Australia of the company’s ViDAR solutions for Australian customers and exporters.
  • Sentient is undertaking Foreign Comparative Technology Testing (FCT) for the US Department of Defense to provide Maritime ViDAR systems for integration and evaluation with the US Marine Corps (USMC). The ViDAR systems will be used for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions, integrated into a medium-altitude, long-range unmanned aerial system operated by the USMC.
  • Helicopter prime contractor and mission systems integrator Lockheed Martin has integrated ViDAR into an MH-60R as a prototype suitable to demonstrate this state-of-the-art Australian capability.

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