Sentient, a computer vision technology company, has been awarded a contract by NAVAIR to provide its Kestrel automated detection software for use within the Mission Control System package for the MQ-8 Fire Scout.
The MQ-8 Fire Scout is an unmanned helicopter that provides US Navy ships with reconnaissance, situational awareness, aerial fire and precision targeting support for ground, air and sea forces. “Automated video analysis tools like Kestrel help maximize the value of the EO/IR sensor package to the tactical operator.” Captain Jeff Dodge, Program Manager from NAVAIR said.
Kestrel automatically detects hard-to-see objects within the EO/IR sensor data feed in real-time. Kestrel specializes in detecting small objects on the surface of the ocean including boats, rubber rafts and people overboard or vehicles and people moving on land. “With well over 15,000 hours of operational in-theatre experience on both manned and un-manned ISR platforms, Sentient has optimized the Kestrel software to perform effectively in the most challenging conditions. “Tom Bleier, Director of Business Development at Sentient said. He added, “Kestrel has been recognized by a growing number of agencies and operators as the Gold Standard in ISR video analytics. We are pleased to reach this milestone with an important program of record.”
Fire Scout uses on-board sensors to capture full-motion video, identify targets and distribute information in real time to various users. This allows ship-based commanders to maintain awareness of a specified area or keep an eye on a target of interest for long periods of time. Kestrel provides visual cues to operators of distant targets allowing for faster classification and the dissemination of actionable intelligence.
Kestrel complements the EO/IR sensors by resolving many of the human factor limitations that hinder long surveillance missions in challenging environments. “The goal is to improve sensor operator performance which extends the capabilities of the entire platform in certain ISR modes of operation”, said Robert S Murphy, Ship Integration IPT Lead, NAVAIR.