The use of tele-operated Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGVs) for military uses has grown significantly in recent years
with operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In both cases the safety of the Soldier or technician performing the mission
is improved by the large standoff distances afforded by the use of the UGV, but the full performance capability of the
robotic system is not utilized due to insufficient depth perception provided by the standard two dimensional video
system, causing the operator to slow the mission to ensure the safety of the UGV given the uncertainty of the perceived
scene using 2D. To address this Polaris Sensor Technologies has developed, in a series of developments funded by the
Leonard Wood Institute at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, a prototype Stereo Vision Upgrade (SVU) Kit for the Foster-Miller
TALON IV robot which provides the operator with improved depth perception and situational awareness, allowing for
shorter mission times and higher success rates. Because there are multiple 2D cameras being replaced by stereo camera
systems in the SVU Kit, and because the needs of the camera systems for each phase of a mission vary, there are a
number of tradeoffs and design choices that must be made in developing such a system for robotic tele-operation.
Additionally, human factors design criteria drive optical parameters of the camera systems which must be matched to the
display system being used. The problem space for such an upgrade kit will be defined, and the choices made in the
development of this particular SVU Kit will be discussed.