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18 Apr 12. Sentient announced the successful demonstration of Desert Owl, a software solution that automatically indicates movement and changes in electro-optical (EO) full motion video (FMV) imagery captured by ground vehicles.

Developed as part of the Defence’s Capability and Technology Demonstrator Program (CTD), Desert Owl addresses two distinct Defence capability requirements: moving target indication (MTI) and ground change detection (GCD).

“Desert Owl adds unique capabilities to ADF vehicles,” said Dr Paul Boxer, Managing Director at Sentient Vision Systems. “This technology makes it much easier to detect and track moving objects and changes on the ground, thus delivering improved situational awareness to the vehicle commander.”

Desert Owl is a suite of software. The MTI component processes the live video feed from a stationary, sweeping camera on the ground vehicle. As the camera sweeps the area of observation, Desert Owl automatically indicates moving objects in the camera’s field of view. Slow and stationary objects almost impossible for a human to notice can be detected at ranges of over 4 km.

At the demonstration, held at the Puckapunyal Army training facility in Victoria (Australia), Vinod Puri, Chief Technology Officer, DSTO Land Operations Division, stated that Desert Owl was able to provide precise detections, down to a few pixels in size, cueing operators to small or slow moving targets.

By simply comparing live imagery with previously recorded imagery Desert Owl’s GCD technology can also identify visual changes.

Dr Boxer explained that the GCD software can process live video in a vehicle moving at up to 60 km/h. It analyses the roadway and landscape ahead of the vehicle, detecting objects that have been added, moved or removed since the last transit, whilst effectively handling environmental and lighting changes.

“The software’s ability to remember everything in detail allows it to indicate changes that are impossible for a human operator to locate, such as disturbances to the ground surface,” said Dr Boxer.

“Finding those ground changes and detecting potential threats is key to situation awareness in today’s ground operations,” he added. “The ability of Desert Owl to detect that a pile of rocks or a bush has moved since yesterday has a very high potential to benefit counter -improvised explosive devices (C-IED) operations.”

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