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By Petko Dinev, Ph.D.
President of Imperx, Inc.
Incorporating an advanced image-capture system on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) reveals how the technology can aid homeland security and law enforcement.
The Office of Naval Research (Arlington, VA) and the NAVSEA Advanced Visualization Office (Washington, D.C.), contracted Imperx Inc. (Boca Raton, FL), a video components manufacturer, to develop a system that could combine advanced image capture and processing, global positioning system (GPS) and wireless data communications, into a system that could operate in a small, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
Video is at the same time the most versatile and the most challenging surveillance method available, provided a system can be designed that is up to the task. While designing and building the mobile video surveillance system for this demonstration project, Imperx uncovered a number of attributes needed to make any mobile video surveillance system effective.
As it turns out, the system required technological features that are inherent in a video system, and are independent of the form of autonomous vehicle platform used to carry it.
While most attention has been paid to fixed-wing aircraft as mobile surveillance platforms, in many important applications, there are alternative platforms, such as helicopters, submarines and land vehicles, that are more appropriate depending on the situation.