Product improves info from UAVs

As tactical use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) has become more prevalent in the military and civilian law enforcement, Sarnoff has developed software that can better manage, exploit and improve the streamed video and data coming from the devices.

Late this past year, the Princeton, N.J.-based company unveiled TerraSight, which the Armed Forces are using in several types of UAVs, said John Bradburn, Sarnoff’s business development director.

He said the advanced technology can take raw video footage, stabilize the picture and correct the system’s inaccuracies in real time. He said military officers and Border Patrol agents are using UAVs more often to gain persistent surveillance to improve their situational awareness. TerraSight can present video in a more useful and quicker fashion, Bradburn said.

Specifically, he said the software synchronizes the video feed with the metadata, which provides positional information from the UAVs’ platforms and sensors.

A UAV flying at 150 mph typically transmits raw video to a ground station at 30 frames per second, but metadata is transmitted slower so they are out of sync, Bradburn said. Previously, he said, it could take “tens of minutes” to rectify that for satellite-based imagery, but TerraSight automatically and instantly synchronizes the video feed with the metadata, providing more accurate information about the video.

Sarah Paris-Mascicki, Sarnoff’s director of marketing and emerging products, said the synthesized video provides useful information and can create a larger picture of an area in real time called a mosaic, similar to fitting pieces of a puzzle together.

“Every frame you catch is painted to a larger picture so you’re getting a whole feed with the live feed always on top,” she said. “If you sweep that camera up and down the street, we’ll have that whole picture for you. That stabilized, synthesized data can then be draped over a map…that gives you the fact that every single pixel of that video now has a coordinate.”

Video can be accessed through the TerraSight Player, a media player that can forward, rewind or play video, Paris-Mascicki said. But it also allows users to plug in modules such as a moving target indicator to track any kind of motion, she said. There is also a geo-registration module that can overlay a video mosaic on a 3-D map. Video footage can also be annotated.

The product can allow users to make standard reports and share the information in real time with a broader group of people, Paris-Mascicki said.

Bradburn said a full system, including hardware, costs more than $100,000.


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