companies introduced new and advanced controls and payload systems
at AUVSI 07. Among these were General Atomics, introducing their
Next Generation Ground Control Station just prior to the event,
Raytheon demonstrating their Multi
Vehicle Control System (MVCS), a derivative of the UCS
Ground Control System and IAI, introducing the latest version
of the ground control console, known as iUCS.
AST, presenting the lightweight Cell Spotter system to covertly
monitor cellular communications traffic over a limited area.
Enerdyne introduced a new hardware add-on which can be easily
installed on any UAV, enabling users to send high capacity digital
feed over existing analog datalinks. Controp, AeroMech and CloudCap
unveiled new versions of stabilized payloads weighing under
two pounds each, designed specifically for emerging mini-UAVs
while Rockwell Collins unveiled the new
TacVue Mini-SAR designed for small UAVs, developed in cooperation
Sandia Labs. (more...)
Aerospace industries unveiled at AUVSI 07 its latest concept
for the modular ground control system called iUCS. The new system
will support all of Malat's UAV fleet. The first UAV to be supported
by the new system is the IAI/Malat Heron, and IAI's latest entry
into the MALE market – the Eitan
The new system fully supports STANAG 4586 ergonomically designed
with a stacked mount supporting multiple displays and control
table with a small footprint. The stacked design considerably
saves space enabling multiple operators to comfortably work
in a small shelter. The same display mount can converted into
a 'side by side' configuration where space is available.
Procerus Technologies introduced an airborne
and ground segment ensemble featuring the Kestrel autopilot,
associated with the 'virtual cockpit' ground control software
and 'OnPoint' targeting system. Kestrel is a 16.7 gram autopilot,
designed for autonomous flight. Controlled by the 'Virtual Cockpit',
Kestrel automatically follows a 'click
and fly' commands performed by the operator. The Kestrel includes
the autonomous GPS navigation system, an inertial measurement
unit, and payload communications and support. The OnPoint targeting
application offers precision target tracking initiated by a
click of a mouse, localization and video stabilization. In addition
to the Virtual Cockpit controls, it also enables 'Click and
Fly' vision based flight control, by dragging the mouse over
a visible target or flight route to initiate a new task.
Several companies introduced advanced image provessing designed
to improve the products or overcome the limitations of EO payloads
currently used by UAVs. For example, Toyon developed novel video
tracking algorithms that can effectively track multiple targets
in video collected by low-cost small UAVs using unstable imaging
systems. The company also developed the wireless communications
algorithms and supporting hardware for these applications. Another
system was presented by Pyramid Vision, which launched their
Video Quest product which can be integrated into the TeraMax
3D system showing the payload image in still photo or image,
inlaid in the proper perspective 'footprint' on a 3d map or
ortophoto to improve situational awareness, thus eliminating
the 'soda straw' views of traditional payloads.
With Video Quest, the real-time video can
be enhanced with with online geodatabase, automatically tagging
and storing new streams with metadata and retrieving stored
media for further analysis upon request. A search can be performed
based on location, time, movement or other historical features.
Video retrieval is performed much rapidly, compared to standard
video recording systems. Future versions of VideoQuest will
also feature 'quality search' reducing the time spent in downloading
unusable videos, such as blurred videos or feeds with heavy
cloud coverage. Other enhancements anticipated with future version
include the integration of laser rangefinder to reduce geolocation
error. Currently, the geolocation accuracy depends on the payload
and sensors, average geolocation error provided by the system
is within 10 meters. TerraMax and VideoQuest are already fielded
with the US Army's PTSD aerostat borne sensor system and with
the ScanEagle UAV system.
It will also be used with the Army's Sky
Warrior UAV systems.
Consulting unveiled its unified ground control station (UGCS)
interface, developed for the US Army small UAV systems. This
interface was supporting Rockwell Collins' Mini SAR. This intercafe
packs a sophisticated control into a small hand held module
such as a PDA or tablet PC. The fully functional UGCS is a lightweight
STANAG 4586 compliant controller offering advanced features
such as 3D or 2D flight planning, full VGA real-time video display
with post-flight reviews, autonomous 'point' and 'flow' modes
of operation, 2D or 3D footprint with terrain shadowing, grid
search modes, automatic routing and intelligent health monitoring.
For the Army project Kutta teamed with Boeing Phantom Works,
Advanced Ceramics Research (ACR), and Neural Robotics Incorporated.
Other uses for this hand controller include homeland Security,
and first responder applications.
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