The Advanced Linked Extended Reconnaissance & Targeting (ALERT) Technology Demonstration (TD)
project is addressing many operational needs of the future Canadian Army's Surveillance and
Reconnaissance forces. Using the surveillance system of the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle as an
experimental platform, the ALERT TD project aims to significantly enhance situational awareness by fusing
multi-sensor and tactical data, developing automated processes, and integrating beyond line-of-sight sensing.
The project is exploiting important advances made in computer processing capability, displays technology,
digital communications, and sensor technology since the design of the original surveillance system.
As the major research area within the project, concepts are discussed for displaying and fusing multi-sensor
and tactical data within an Enhanced Operator Control Station (EOCS). The sensor data can originate from
the Coyote's own visible-band and IR cameras, laser rangefinder, and ground-surveillance radar, as well as
from beyond line-of-sight systems such as mini-UAVs and unattended ground sensors.
Video-rate image processing has been developed to assist the operator to detect poorly visible targets. As a
second major area of research, automatic target cueing capabilities have been added to the system. These
include scene change detection, automatic target detection and aided target recognition algorithms
processing both IR and visible-band images to draw the operator's attention to possible targets. The merits of
incorporating scene change detection algorithms are also discussed. In the area of multi-sensor data fusion,
up to Joint Defence Labs level 2 has been demonstrated. The human factors engineering aspects of the user
interface in this complex environment are presented, drawing upon multiple user group sessions with military
surveillance system operators. The paper concludes with Lessons Learned from the project.
The ALERT system has been used in a number of C4ISR field trials, most recently at Exercise Empire
Challenge in China Lake CA, and at Trial Quest in Norway. Those exercises provided further opportunities to
investigate operator interactions. The paper concludes with recommendations for future work in operator