Product improves info from UAVs

As tactical usage of unmanned aerial vehicles has become more prevalent in the military and in civilian law enforcement, Sarnoff has developed software that can better manage, exploit and improve the streamed video and data coming down from the devices.

Late last year, the Princeton, N.J.-based company unveiled the product, called TerraSight, which is being used by the armed forces across several different types of UAVs, according to John Bradburn, Sarnoff's business development director.

He said the advanced technology is able to take raw video footage, stabilize the picture and correct the system's inaccuracies in real time. He said military officers and even Border Patrol agents, for example, are using UAVs more and more to gain persistent surveillance in order to improve their situational awareness. TerraSight, he said, is able to present video in a more useful and quicker fashion.

Specifically, Bradburn said the software synchronizes the video feed with the metadata, which provides positional information from the UAV's platform and sensor.

Typically, he said a UAV flying at 150 miles per hour transmits raw video to a ground station at 30 frames per second but metadata is transmitted at a reduced rate so they are out of sync. Previously, he said it could take 'tens of minutes' to rectify that for satellite-based imagery, but TerraSight automatically and instantly syncs up the video feed with the metadata providing more accurate information about the video.

Sarah Paris-Mascicki, Sarnoff's director of marketing and of emerging products, said the synthesized video provides useful information and can also create a larger picture of an area in real time called a mosaic, much like fitting pieces of a puzzle together.

'Every frame you catch is painted to a larger picture so you're getting a whole feed with the live feed always on top,' she said. 'If you sweep that camera up and down the street we'll have that whole picture for you. That stabilized, synthesized data can then be draped over a map ' that gives you the fact that every single pixel of that video now has a coordinate.'

She said that video can be accessed through the TerraSight Player, which is essentially a media player that forward, rewind or play video. But it also allows users to plug in modules such as a moving target indicator to track any kind of motion, she said. There is also a geo-registration module that can overlay a video mosaic over a three-dimensional map. Video footage can also be annotated.

Paris-Mascicki said the product can allow users to make standard reports and share the information in real time with a broader group of people.

Bradburn said a full system, including hardware costs more than $100,000.

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