Sunday, June 5, 2016

Sentient’s ViDAR system gives unmanned aircraft a ‘find’ function for the first time

Sentient Vision Systems has signed an exclusive global distribution agreement with Insitu for the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) software to be incorporated within the company's unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).

Insitu will incorporate the ViDAR payload into its fleet of unmanned systems, beginning with its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft. The ViDAR software is built into the ScanEagle payload by Hood Technologies.

ViDAR is a wide area autonomous detection system for electro-optic imagery in the maritime domain enabling coverage over 80 times the ocean’s surface compared with existing electro-optic sensors. ViDAR transforms the utility of tactical UAS’s by giving them a ‘find’ function for the first time. Operators typically must rely on larger, more expensive aircraft to detect objects in the ocean; ViDAR provides the find capability in a smaller, more cost-effective payload.

“The inability to find objects on the ocean’s surface has placed a huge limitation on the utility of tactical UAS.” said Simon Olsen, Sentient’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships. “Fast boats, rubber rafts or even a person in the water – ViDAR finds them all – and does so at a fraction of the size and cost of existing technologies.”

Sentient’s ViDAR software autonomously detects any object on the surface of the ocean, providing the ground control station with an image and location coordinate of each object detected in real time. In demonstrations, ViDAR has autonomously detected a fishing vessel at 14 nautical miles, a fast boat at more than 9 nm and even the spout of a whale at 1.5 nm from the aircraft.

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