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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Communication and Geospatial

 
October 11th, 2019 by Susan Smith

From defense to ISR and tethered drones to highly intelligent vehicle sensors, geospatial developments are critical in the realm of communication of many kinds.

While much defense research and development involves the development of weaponry, this particular effort by Airbus Defence and Space focuses on communication rather than physical intervention.

A portable and autonomous dialogue device from Airbus

Military actions in foreign environments present particular challenges, not only in terms of physical environment but also language. An effort to break language barriers to reduce communication delays has been developed by Airbus Defence and Space with their two bespoke systems:

  • A portable and autonomous dialogue device, which has been designed to provide operational communication between two individuals who do not speak the same language (French vs. Arabic; English vs. Arabic; Pashto vs. French) – without using a human interpreter. Delivering results in real-time, the system allows for voice files to be acquired and transcribed into the target language, as well as the verbalisation of the text using synthetic voice capabilities.
  • An autonomous typewritten and handwritten word recognition device that was developed to provide information retrieval capabilities (in Arabic or French) on digitised paper documents written in Arabic. It allows users to recognise Arabic-written sentences, to translate them to the target language, to extract named entities and relevant information, and then to index them for information retrieval and alert.

These systems are designed to provide intelligence that will reduce risk, prevent threats and collect and transmit information. Additionally, they provide action to respond and manage emergency medical support, as well as protect VIPs. They provide an environment conducive to training or advising foreign military units and a way to communicate with locals.

The solutions are deployed on ruggedized laptops and are autonomous and fast. They are specific to military and security use and designed for easy use with very little training required. These are already being used in the field and users have reported excellent feedback.

The LiveSky Agile™ is a complete sUAS mobility solution that can be installed in golf carts, SUV’s, pick-up truck beds, command vehicles, tactical transports, or maritime vessels.

Communication in the military also just got a little better with a new $10 million sole-source contract award by a U.S. government agency to Hoverfly Technologies Inc. (“Hoverfly”), the manufacturer of the LiveSky tethered drone. LiveSky provides aerial monitoring and communications relay solutions for national defense, intelligence, and homeland security customers.

According to company materials, the sole-source contract has an initial ceiling value of $10 million and a five-year period of performance, including four one-year options. Details for the contract state that Hoverfly will deliver both the LiveSky Dismounted and LiveSky SkyBox configurations, as well as installation, training, and support services. Deliveries to the U.S. government under the new federal contract begin in November 2019.

The LiveSky is a tactical and mobile ISR and communication relay system that delivers full-motion 24-hour day/night video using Hoverfly’s Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensor payload. LiveSky is a light-weight, low-power, and rapidly deployable solution. Four simultaneous full-motion video streams can be viewed locally, over networks, or by operators with mobile devices using the Tactical Awareness Kit (TAK). LiveSky also provides communication relay solutions using Persistent Systems WaveRelay, Silvus, TrellisWare, goTenna, and other tactical radios.

The new contract is the largest U.S. government contract awarded for tethered drones to date, according to U.S. government data. The advantaged of tethered drones is that they can improve both tactical and mobile ISR and communications from both manned and unmanned systems. The procurement requirements of the U.S. Army’s Remote Combat Vehicle (RCV) program spurred initial interest in tethered drones by large military vehicle OEMs. Tethered drones such as LiveSky are now required by the RCV program as a sensor and communication payload for any new combat vehicles to be procured.

HERE Live Sense SDK

On the commercial side, HERE Technologies announced the availability of the HERE Live Sense SDK, a new software development kit (SDK), currently in beta, designed to assist drivers with real-time insight that help them make informed decisions about upcoming obstacles, road infrastructure or driving conditions, without having to rely on cloud processing or the need for connectivity.

HERE Live Sense SDK transforms devices with front-facing cameras, such as smartphones, dashcams or vehicle cameras, into highly intelligent vehicle sensors. Through the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the HERE Live Sense SDK continuously scans the driver’s environment, empowering devices to detect objects such as vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists on the road, or road infrastructure such as traffic lights and road signs and potential hazards such as potholes, road closures or construction zones.

This information is then provided through HERE Live Sense SDK provides information as both audio and visual notifications to the driver, which will help them decide what action to take in response. The device does this all in real-time without relying on data processing in the cloud or for connectivity. HERE Live Sense SDK also has the ability to detect changes in reality versus the onboard map to keep drivers informed of a change in speed limit, for example.

This type of global awareness is potentially valuable to drivers of both commercial and passenger vehicles, giving them the ability to take action quickly should there be road closures or any behavioral changes with other vehciles.

HERE Live Sense SDK uses multiple AI/ML detection models, including (from company materials):

Road Basics: Detection and classification of objects on the road.

Road Alerts: Recognition and notification of braking vehicles, pedestrians and bicycle detection.

Road Hazards: Detection and classification of unexpected hazards along the way, with changing conditions, including road closures not yet detected on the map, construction zones and road works.

Road Signs: Detection and classification of speed limits and other signs.

As an SDK, these models can be implemented into an application or hardware device, providing customers with AI capabilities. The HERE Live Sense SDK has been created to benefit all drivers and is available for automotive & HW OEMs, fleet and ride hail operators and app developers. It is now available in beta for Android and will soon be available for iOS. In addition, HERE is already working with customers on the first commercial implementations of the SDK.

More information can be found on the HERE Developer Portal.

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Categories: Airbus Defense and Space, aircraft tracking, analytics, autonomous driving, autonomous vehicles, cloud, data, disaster relief, emergency response, field GIS, geospatial, GIS, government, handhelds, in car navigation, location based sensor fusion, location based services, location intelligence, mapping, mobile, mobile mapping, remote sensing, ruggedized computers, sensors, situational intelligence, survey, transportation, UAS, UAV, UAVs, utilities

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