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Augmented Situational Awareness Windshield (ASAW)

Description:

TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Electronics 

OBJECTIVE: Research and develop a tactical vehicle display solution (SWAP-c) to enhance the sensor-to-driver link while maintaining heads-up situational awareness. The proposed display solution should be multi-platform compatible (HMMWV, Stryker, Abrams) as well as suitable for future Army sensor capabilities and requirements. 

DESCRIPTION: Advanced IR sensor technology development has led to the availability of megapixel Focal Plane Arrays (FPAs). Unfortunately, display technology on Army platforms has not kept pace with this rapid growth in detector technology capabilities. This SBIR seeks displays that can display High Definition video of equal or greater importance and show innovation to address the space compliance issues of modern Army vehicle platforms. High-Definition Long-Wave Infrared (HD-LWIR) sensors play a critical role in the movement of units in the military and have become an integral part of the Soldier’s current vehicle capabilities. LWIR sensors allow Soldiers to continue their mission with minimized loss of efficiency; however, these HD sensors require an affordable means for displaying the information so their output can be easily used by the Soldier. The challenge resides in finding an affordable display solution capable of displaying HD video of the current sensors, given the space constraints of each vehicle platform. There is currently a large capability gap for HD display technology that needs to be addressed so the Soldier can maintain technological superiority over their adversaries. The objective of this SBIR is to identify an affordable and technically compliant solution (SWAP-c) to the display challenge and move one step closer in closing the sensor-to-Soldier loop. Display technologies presented from this effort should be applicable to both current and future indirect vision high definition sensor (ie. 2Kx2K) systems developed. NVESD is seeking to find possible solutions to meeting this gap that could be produced in the near future. The proposed method should provide a means of displaying indirect vision driving sensors (SWIR, MWIR, LWIR) video and augmented reality enabling cues (LIDAR, Blue Force Tracker, etc.) in real time to the driver. These video and cues should be presented either onto the driver's windshield when available (ex. HMMWV), a flip down visor or similar inside a military tank that enables the user to directly view current driving conditions through windshield or vision blocks while simultaneously benefiting from fused LWIR imagery and AR cues. This ASAW display approach should offer an effective, affordable solution to providing the user with real time sensor enhancement as well as a simultaneous augmented reality capability without creating distraction or loss of situational awareness. The AWAS will also enable other mission critical and vehicle information to be displayed real time in a heads-up manner without causing distraction or requiring the user to look away from the road such as; location and destination information, speed, waypoint indication, mission status, etc. Possible means of achieving this proposed display may be a projection type output directly into the glass and refracting it across the display, a holographic technology option, a mirrored small screen magnification into a heads up format, or other solutions that meet the requirement of this request. However this is met, it is critical that the displayed information does not inhibit or slow down the Soldier’s reactions and decisions and is presented in real time (<60ms). If applicable, the display should have a stowaway capability when not in use. The proposed display must also keep the Soldier hidden and therefore must not be seen beyond ten meters outside. It must have a night/day capability with a brightness adjusting option. It must be able to intake gig-e, CL, HDMI, and other current forms of imaging. The desired product must be capable of becoming fully integrated into military vehicles (HMMWV, Bradley, Abrams, Stryker, MRAP, etc.) while observing their specific space and operational requirements. 

PHASE I: Research and develop designs for feasible display concepts that meet the requested application. Trade study on the feasibility and quality of proposed display options. Investigate and identify key parameters necessary for sensor to achieve display requests. Conduct initial study and identify requirements and performance trade-offs for Soldier displays. Conduct initial study on COTS or modified COTS equipment that meet proposed solution. 

PHASE II: Produce initial prototype of chosen display. Test fit into multiple vehicle platforms. Integrate into multiple military vehicles (HMMWV, Stryker) and test display performance, modifying, if necessary. Demonstrate capability and feasibility of proposed display using HD sensors. Add additional multi-capability functions and overlays such as speedometer and waypoint tracking. Deliver tested and robust prototype for in the field application. 

PHASE III: The topic enables the Army’s Next Generation Combat Vehicle and Soldier Lethality modernization priorities, addresses PEO IEW&S, PEO GCS, and PEO Soldier needs, and supports technology development efforts occurring in 63710/K70 which will become 633462/BG1, and 633118/BC9. Advance display to fully functional capability to TRL 7/8 and MRL 8. Establish pilot line for materials and finalize product data associated with modifying and/or producing the display. Fully document process parameters associated with display requirements and capabilities. Update the previously delivered prototype display design to meet the final configuration. 

REFERENCES: 

1: Y. Akatsuka, G. Bekey, -Compensation for end to end delays in a VR system," Proc Virtual Reality Ann.Int‘l Symp. ‘98. (VRAIS '98). Atlanta, 14-18 Mar. 1998,

2:  pp. 156-159

3:  R.Behringer, -Registration for Outdoor Augmented Reality Applications Using Computer Vision Techniques and Hybrid Sensors," Proc. IEEE Virtual

4:  Reality ‘99.Houston, TX, 13-17 Mar. 1999, pp. 244-25

5:  R. Behringer, et. al., -A Wearable AugmentedReality Testbed for Navigation and Control, Built

6:  Solely with Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Hardware,"Proc.Int‘l Symp. Augmented Reality 2000 (ISAR‘00). Munich,5-6 Oct. 2000, pp. 12-19

KEYWORDS: Displays, Augmented Reality, Sensor, LWIR, Situational Awareness 

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