Sentient, Australian specialist in computer vision technology collaborating with Boeing [BA] subsidiary Insitu Pacific, has successfully demonstrated and deployed Kestrel, a real-time vision system for EO/IR sensors, with the ScanEagle Unmanned Aerial System (UAS).
Since 2006 the ScanEagle UAS has delivered tactical aerial reconnaissance support to Australian land forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“Kestrel brings the capability to analyze live ScanEagle imagery from the battlefield into both, the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) and Remote Video Terminal (RVT),” said Paul Boxer, Sentient managing director in a statement. “It assists Australian war-fighters in automatically detecting and tracking potential threats, in real-time. At the same time, it provides Mission Commanders with the most accurate and timely information possible.”
Kestrel is a real-time computer vision system that automatically detects and tracks moving targets below an UAS. It analyses the ScanEagle’s imagery and alerts the air vehicle operator to easily missed, small moving targets, such as dismounted soldiers and vehicles. Kestrel is ideal for surveillance in mountainous and urban terrain, detecting objects that are easily missed by the human eye.
“Kestrel’s ability to detect very small targets, even in difficult environments, allows the ScanEagle to conduct wider area surveillance,” said Andrew Duggan, Insitu Pacific managing director. “Kestrel adds to the ScanEagle’s ISR capability, extending its ability to provide situational awareness.”
For the past year, Sentient has worked with the Australian Department of Defence and Insitu Pacific to roll out Kestrel to Australian forces in Afghanistan.
“We have worked closely with the Australian Department of Defence and Insitu Pacific to stand up this UAS imagery analysis capability. We are exceptionally proud of our achievement,” Boxer said. “We look forward to continuing support of the Australian Army during the Afghanistan deployment.”
Kestrel interfaces with the ScanEagle UAS in the field without changing current ground control station hardware or support equipment.