Artificial Intelligence Sensor Analysis for UAS ISR

By Mike Ball / 26 Mar 2021

Sentient Kestrel computer vision system

Kongsberg Geospatial has partnered with Sentient Vision Systems to develop a capability that will provide real-time analysis of video data from drone-based sensors. The technology will integrate Sentient’s Kestrel, an AI–enabled computer vision system that provides automated object detection.

The new capability will help to enhance the effectiveness of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) that are deployed by search and rescue organizations, law enforcement, and military organizations for a variety of applications, including Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) and search and Rescue (SAR) missions. It will be based around Kongsberg’s MIDAS (Modular ISR Data Analysis and Storage) tool, which allows reviewing and comparison of real-time, near real-time and historical sensor data, including full-motion video (FMV).

MIDAS allows operators to examine video data in real-time, and easily compare and cross-reference it with data collected from previous missions in the same area. MIDAS seamlessly integrates with real-time tools like Sentient Kestrel for tasks such as identifying a search and rescue subject under conditions where they might easily be missed, such as heavy woodland, harsh weather conditions, and stormy seas.

The MIDAS system is based on technology originally developed for the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) project, which required the storage and retrieval of vast amounts of intelligence data for later analysis by intelligence analysts. Kongsberg Geospatial has now packaged this functionality into a portable form factor for use by both military and civilian organizations.

Kestrel is an AI-enabled computer vision system that automatically detects objects in electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) video. Kestrel can detect objects in both land and maritime environments down to a few pixels in size, and can significantly increase the effectiveness of video surveillance, while reducing operator fatigue. In addition to highlighting objects in a live data feed, Kestrel provides object tracking with a visible history of movements and a predicted future path. Kestrel has been field-proven with a wide range of aerial platforms and has over 3,000 deployments across six continents.

Ranald McGillis, president of Kongsberg Geospatial, commented: “We developed MIDAS to provide a standards-based toolset to allow UAS operators to truly make effective use of video data to provide actionable intelligence. With the addition of Sentient’s Kestrel computer vision technology, we can extend that functionality to provide a tremendously useful near real-time capability for applications like search and rescue.”

Dr Paul Boxer, Managing Director of Sentient Vision Systems, said: “We are excited that our Kestrel object detection software is now part of the Kongsberg Geospatial MIDAS system. The combination of these industry leading solutions will enable our customers to greatly enhance real-time situational awareness, intelligence analysis and lifesaving capabilities.”

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Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact