Eyes widened for military vehicles

Australian Defence Force vehicles will identify potential targets and threats with computer vision technology.

Computer vision and software firm, Sentient developed the Desert Owl software to improve vehicle situation awareness.

The Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) managed the development with Sentient, as part of the Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program (CTD).

CTD program director, Alan Hinge said ‘to provide advanced vehicle awareness’, Desert Owl is designed with two distinct technology components.

“A component known as Panoptes provides automated target detection from a stationary, sweeping camera,” Mr Hinge said.

DSTO chief technology officer, land operations division, Vinod Puri said the technology can detect and track moving targets down to a few pixels in size.

“Cueing operators to small or slow moving and hard to see targets in difficult terrain,” Mr Puri said.

Mr Puri said it can also detect stationary objects that may have moved since the camer was first directed at that location.

The other component known as ‘ground change direction’ identifies variations in a landscape between successive camera transits through an area.

According to Mr Hinge, Desert Owl records imagery of the environment with this component.

“On subsequent transits, the system compares live imagery of the road ahead with this recorded imagery and identifies visual changes, including disturbances to the ground surface, additional, moved or removed objects,” Mr Hinge said.

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