Development of an Onboard Video Processing Platform for Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS)
ABSTRACT: Modern aerial Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) benefits greatly from Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) equipped with Wide Area Motion Imagery (WAMI) sensors. Given the increasing image capabilities and the small Size, Weight and Power (SWAP) budget of the typical SUAS, there is a growing need for a video exploitation system which can handle large volumes of imagery in a low SWAP hardware package. ObjectVideo (OV) proposes to leverage its technologies and experience in low-power aerial video exploitation, developed under DARPA and ONR funding to support the ARGUS-IS and WFPAC projects, to address this need. The proposed system would provide the ability to process the full field-of-view of WAMI sensors, detect and track targets, and transmit only interesting imagery, events, and metadata back to the ground, conserving both bandwidth and operator attention. For Phase I, the OV team will survey low-power COTS processing hardware, particularly that designed for the competitive mobile consumer electronics market. The most promising candidates will be evaluated in the lab against a benchmark consisting of representative video processing and exploitation algorithms. Evaluation metrics emphasize algorithmic performance, power consumption, and ease of development and integration, with a goal of producing a usable prototype for Phase II. BENEFIT: Anticipated benefits of the proposed solution are: Low-SWAP, low-cost COTS hardware platform Robust video exploitation system built to scale to very large resolutions with minimal hardware footprint Focus on ease of development and integration aids future development Leverages recent DoD research efforts The proposed solution has potential applications in both DoD and commercial markets. The technology to be developed under this project is adaptable and applicable to a wide range of aerial surveillance systems. The small target form factor and power consumption will enable advanced analytics and exploitation capabilities on aerial platforms previously limited by SWaP and bandwidth constraints. The solution also has applications in ground-based sensors. ObjectVideo has experience developing low-power rapidly-deployable sentry cameras and applications for mobile devices carried by warfighters, which share similar hardware platforms. Advancing the exploitation capabilities of these applications has tremendous benefits. ObjectVideo commercialized an embedded video exploitation software library, which is licensed to OEM camera and DVR manufacturers under the name ObjectVideo OnBoard. These libraries provide similar features to the proposed system, such as rule-based event detection, albeit for lower resolution, largely fixed, terrestrial camera feeds. The techniques developed in optimizing power consumption and performance can be put to direct use in these OnBoard implementations. The additional capabilities offered by this solution, such as the ability to process very high resolutions and accommodate moving cameras, will also prove marketable in an advanced commercial product.
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