Vision system deployed to Australian troops for improved threat detection

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Australian land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan are using a vision system for EO/IR sensors on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) to detect and track potential threats in real time.

Since 2006 the ScanEagle UAS from Insitu has delivered tactical aerial reconnaissance support to Australian land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through collaboration with Insitu Pacific, Sentient, Australian specialist in computer vision technology, has successfully deployed Kestrel, a real-time vision system for EO/IR sensors, with the ScanEagle UAS.

'Kestrel brings the capability to analyse live ScanEagle imagery from the battlefield into both, the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and Remote Video Terminal (RVT),' stated Dr Paul Boxer, managing director of Sentient. 'It assists Australian war-fighters in automatically detecting and tracking potential threats, in real-time. At the same time, it provides Mission Commanders with the most accurate and timely information possible.'

Kestrel is a real-time computer vision system that automatically detects and tracks moving targets below an UAS. It analyses the ScanEagle's imagery and alerts the Air Vehicle Operator to easily missed, small moving targets, such as dismounts and vehicles. Kestrel is ideal for surveillance in mountainous and urban terrain, detecting objects that are easily missed by the human eye.

'Kestrel's ability to detect very small targets, even in difficult environments, allows the ScanEagle to conduct wider area surveillance,' said Andrew Duggan, managing director of Insitu Pacific. 'Kestrel adds to the ScanEagle's ISR capability, extending its ability to provide situational awareness.'

For the past year, Sentient has worked with the Australian Department of Defence and Insitu Pacific to roll out Kestrel to Australian forces in Afghanistan.

'We have worked closely with the Australian Department of Defence and Insitu Pacific to stand up this UAS imagery analysis capability. We are exceptionally proud of our achievement,' said Dr Boxer. 'We look forward to continuing support of the Australian Army during the Afghanistan deployment.'

Kestrel interfaces with the ScanEagle UAS in the field without changing current ground control station hardware or support equipment.

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