How do you think the new GigE standards will influence the machine vision industry?
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By Doug Scott
GE Intelligent Platforms
There are so many things about our bodies that we take for granted. Not least among these is our amazing vision system. The ability to distinguish an object—often among many other objects—and to link that object with its innate characteristics; to make informed assumptions about an object when it is incompletely perceived, or temporarily disappears; understand the relationship and interaction between that object and other objects; and predict how that object might behave in a given set of circumstances.
TRACKING IN THE MILITARY ENVIRONMENT
Those are characteristics and abilities that are taken for granted in fighter pilots, tank commanders and submarine captains, and that are fundamental to their ability to fulfil a mission. There are, however, two issues that need to be overcome—especially as modern warfare increases in complexity, sophistication and speed. The first of these is the ability of the human mind to retain multiple relevant pieces of information. Early research into artificial intelligence, for example, took as one of its precepts that, in making a decision, humans can only take into account seven pieces of information simultaneously: given more than seven, we will arbitrarily—and unconsciously—discard the excess. The hope, of course, is that the information discarded is the least relevant. One of the goals of early artificial intelligence development was to allow the capture and retention of as many pieces of relevant information as possible thus, theoretically, improving the quality of decision-making. In modern warfare, the number and sophistication of threats has increased significantly, making this a mission-critical issue.
The second issue that is of constant concern in the modern battlefield is the issue of fatigue. Perception, analysis and decision-making are known to deteriorate over prolonged periods of action—a deterioration that can have fatal consequences.
The key goals of today’s military video tracking systems are, therefore, to replicate to the maximum extent possible the capabilities of the human vision system; to ensure that irrelevant information is discarded and that relevant information is captured and processed; and to automate these functions to minimize fatigue.
Video tracking in the field of war is, of course, nothing new. However, today’s tracking systems need to be significantly more capable as the complexity of the battlefield increases.