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FAS Project on Intelligence Reform

Airborne Video Surveillance

The DARPA Airborne Video Surveillance project seeks to develop and demonstrate real-time Precision Video Registration (PVR), Multiple Target Surveillance (MTS) , and automated Activity Monitoring (AM) of sites (points, areas, lines of communications) using electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) imagery similar to that available from current (e.g., Predator, Hunter) and future (e.g., Global Hawk, Dark Star, Outrider) unmanned aerial vehicle systems. When combined with existing EO and IR target recognition algorithms, AVS will provide the Warfighter with a comprehensive video battlespace awareness capability.

The ability to deliver weapons to a target location is dependent upon accurate geolocation, but the 30-100 meter pointing accuracy of today’s systems falls far short of the 10 meter or less requirement of modern weapons systems. Today’s UAVs continue to be tasked like satellites and provide no ability to compensate for their narrow FOVs by tracking multiple moving targets. This in turn translates into sensor underutilization wherein image analysts (IA) are only able to watch a single object or area at a time. Finally, the volume of video data being collected swamps both the user and the communication links. Combined with the lack of an exploitation infrastructure to support video processing, this results in missions where the time required for an operator to exploit video data is larger than the video collection time cycle.

The AVS program will develop, integrate and evaluate the following key automated video processing technologies using visible and infrared imagery:

  • Precision Video Registration (PVR): The accurate geolocation of moving and stationary targets in video surveillance imagery at real time rates.
  • Multiple Target Surveillance (MTS): The simultaneous tracking of multiple vehicles in a UAVs area of regard, using a single computer controlled gimbal and sensor.
  • Activity Monitoring (AM): The monitoring of several areas of the battle space for distinctive motion activities such as a soldier incursion and vehicle movement.

    The AVS Program began in June of 1998 and will conduct annual fall demonstrations and evaluations through 2002. In each key technology area, leading contractors or research centers were competitively awarded contracts based on innovative proposals and previously demonstrated experience (PVR: Harris Corporation, MTS: Sarnoff Corporation, AM: a team of SRI and University of Maryland).

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    Created by John Pike
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    Updated Wednesday, October 27, 1999 1:31:16 PM