The operator's situational awareness greatly affects mission performance for remote operations of Explosive Ordnance
Disposal (EOD) robots. Testing by Army EOD sergeants has shown that a Head-Aimed Remote Viewer (HARV) can significantly
increase mission performance in several key tasks, such as identifying secondary Improvised Explosive Devices
(IED's) and maneuvering in tight quarters. A HARV system improves the operator's situational awareness by providing an
intuitive, "look around" vision interface that DARPA research4 has shown provides a 400% improvement in the operator's
spatial understanding of the remote environment. This paper describes the results of functional testing conducted by US
Army civilian engineers and EOD sergeants at Picatinny Arsenal, in support of W15QKN-06-C-0190.
Panoramic cameras offer true real-time, 360-degree coverage of the surrounding area, valuable for a variety of defense and security applications, including force protection, asset protection, asset control, security including port security, perimeter security, video surveillance, border control, airport security, coastguard operations, search and rescue, intrusion detection, and many others.
Automatic detection, location, and tracking of targets outside protected area ensures maximum protection and at the same time reduces the workload on personnel, increases reliability and confidence of target detection, and enables both man-in-the-loop and fully automated system operation. Thermal imaging provides the benefits of all-weather, 24-hour day/night operation with no downtime. In addition, thermal signatures of different target types facilitate better classification, beyond the limits set by camera's spatial resolution.
The useful range of catadioptric panoramic cameras is affected by their limited resolution. In many existing systems the resolution is optics-limited. Reflectors customarily used in catadioptric imagers introduce aberrations that may become significant at large camera apertures, such as required in low-light and thermal imaging.
Advantages of panoramic imagers with high image resolution include increased area coverage with fewer cameras, instantaneous full horizon detection, location and tracking of multiple targets simultaneously, extended range, and others.
The Automatic Panoramic Thermal Integrated Sensor (APTIS), being jointly developed by Applied Science Innovative, Inc. (ASI) and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) combines the strengths of improved, high-resolution panoramic optics with thermal imaging in the 8 - 14 micron spectral range, leveraged by intelligent video processing for automated detection, location, and tracking of moving targets. The work in progress supports the Future Combat Systems (FCS) and the Intelligent Munitions Systems (IMS).
The APTIS is anticipated to operate as an intelligent node in a wireless network of multifunctional nodes that work together to serve in a wide range of applications of homeland security, as well as serve the Army in tasks of improved situational awareness (SA) in defense and offensive operations, and as a sensor node in tactical Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR).
The novel ViperViewTM high-resolution panoramic thermal imager is the heart of the APTIS system. It features an aberration-corrected omnidirectional imager with small optics designed to match the resolution of a 640x480 pixels IR camera with improved image quality for longer range target detection, classification, and tracking. The same approach is applicable to panoramic cameras working in the visible spectral range. Other components of the ATPIS system include network communications, advanced power management, and wakeup capability. Recent developments include image processing, optical design being expanded into the visible spectral range, and wireless communications design. This paper describes the development status of the APTIS system.
The authors have invented and are developing a new Real-Time Stereoscopic Catadioptric Omni-Detection (RSCO)
system based on a high-resolution stereoscopic vision system, an acoustic array with high-fidelity/sensitivity, real-time
image processing hardware based on evolutionary stream processing hardware architecture based on the processors (SPs) with unprecedented digital signal processing
(DSP) performance, and proprietary unwrapping and operating software. The RSCO development involves optimizing
(1) the omnidirectional multimodal (visible/MWIR) sensor system configuration and mechanical hardening to survive
harsh conditions and to minimize maintenance; (2) a video/image
ultrahigh-performance SPs, (3) an acoustic array with high-performance DSP technology; and (4) real-time unwrapping
and operating software. SPs form a new class of image processors scalable to teraOPS, with efficiency comparable to
ASICs, and completely programmable in high-level languages. SPs innovatively combine a new programming model,
tool automation, and hardware to exploit the high data parallelism and processing locality that are inherent in a wide
range of applications, especially media processing. The excellent performance, efficiency, and programmability of SPs
make them ideal for implementation of the RSCO system, with its unprecedented omnidirectional, multiple-modality
sensors, range, accuracy, size, and robustness.
Historically, the US Army has recognized the advantages of panoramic imagers with high image resolution: increased area coverage with fewer cameras, instantaneous full horizon detection, location and tracking of multiple targets simultaneously, extended range, and others. The novel ViperViewTM high-resolution panoramic thermal imager is the heart of the Automatic Panoramic Thermal Integrated Sensor (APTIS), being jointly developed by Applied Science Innovative, Inc. (ASI) and the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) in support of the Future Combat Systems (FCS) and the Intelligent Munitions Systems (IMS). The APTIS is anticipated to operate as an intelligent node in a wireless network of multifunctional nodes that work together to improve situational awareness (SA) in many defense and offensive operations, as well as serve as a sensor node in tactical Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR). The ViperView is as an aberration-corrected omnidirectional imager with small optics designed to match the resolution of a 640x480 pixels IR camera with improved image quality for longer range target detection, classification, and tracking. The same approach is applicable to panoramic cameras working in the visible spectral range. Other components of the ATPIS sensor suite include ancillary sensors, advanced power management, and wakeup capability. This paper describes the development status of the APTIS system.
As part of the Commanding General of Army Material Command's Research, Development & Engineering Command (RDECOM), the U.S. Army Research Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), Picatinny funded a joint development effort with McQ Associates, Inc. to develop an Advanced Minefield Sensor (AMS) as a technology evaluation prototype for the Anti-Personnel Landmine Alternatives (APLA) Track III program. This effort laid the fundamental groundwork of smart sensors for detection and classification of targets, identification of combatant or noncombatant, target location and tracking at and between sensors, fusion of information across targets and sensors, and
automatic situation awareness to the 1st responder. The efforts have culminated in developing a performance oriented architecture meeting the requirements of size, weight, and power (SWAP). The integrated digital signal processor (DSP) paradigm is capable of computing signals from sensor modalities to extract needed information within either a 360° or fixed field of view with acceptable false alarm rate. This paper discusses the challenges in the developments of
such a sensor, focusing on achieving reasonable operating ranges, achieving low power, small size and low cost, and applications for extensions of this technology.
A field test experiment sponsored by the NATO Task Group (TG-25) was conducted in France in October 2002 to demonstrate acoustic and seismic unattended ground sensor (UGS) technology. Participants from member nations were afforded the opportunity to test and benchmark the performance of various sensor systems and share performance data in a collaborative networking environment. The ARMY Acoustic Center of Excellence (ACOE) deployed three sensor platforms in support of the test; a Hand Emplaced (HE02) acoustic/seismic sensor system developed by SenTech Corporation, an in-house developed acoustic data acquisition system, and a meteorological data collection node developed by Penn State University. In this paper we describe the detection, direction finding and target counting performance of the multi-sensor suite against multiple target scenarios that consisted of various heavy, light, wheeled and tracked vehicles. The results are based on report messages that were archived via a wireless Ethernet interface and TCP/IP network system called “SPIDER” that provided real-time visualization of sensor performance and managed the collection of UGS output data at a centralized server location.