SSCI-led team of Lockheed Martin, iRobot and Kairos Autonomi to develop datafusion algorithms for the Office of Naval Research (ONR)
May 18, 2009 by news
WOBURN, MA, May 18, 2009 – The Office of Naval Research today awarded Scientific Systems a Phase I SBIR contract today to develop algorithms that would allow soldiers to more effectively exploit data for tracking multiple targets simultaneously, which is critically important in a broad range of military applications.
Autonomous decentralized multiplatform information fusion in littoral and riverine environments using dispersed and highly disparate heterogeneous sensors on unmanned systems is a major theoretical and practical challenge. Besides highly diverse information types, systems of this kind must deal with potentially large target numbers, closely-spaced targets, potentially dense clutter, limited communication bandwidth and intermittency. The Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) team proposes a foundational approach, based on five innovations: (1) a multisensor-multitarget likelihood function that encapsulates all relevant information regarding the characteristics of the various sensors situated on various platforms; (2) unified probabilistic representation and Bayesian processing of heterogeneous information types, such as radar, EO/IR images, acoustics, and even inference rules and natural-language statements; (3) a dynamic “tactical importance function” (TIF) that mathematically specifies the meaning of target prioritization (“tactical significance”) for a given theater at any given moment, thus providing a statistical basis for automatic operator alerting; (4) integration of these concepts with track-before-detect filters; and (5)theoretically rigorous incorporation of the constraints due to the platform, terrain, and other communication-systems topologies and constraints. Under this approach, information from disparate fixed or mobile netted sensors, including UAV’s, USV’s and UUV’s, can be adaptively and optimally fused to create a common operational picture, based on a dynamically changing definition of target importance. Our project team includes Lockheed Martin, iRobot, and Kairos Autonomi. Lockheed Martin will provide both technical and commercialization support in the application of data fusion for Distributed Sensor Systems. iRobot and Kairos Autonomi will support fabrication of a prototype system in Phase II.
Data fusion and multi-target tracking is of major importance to the military, and is of critical importance to a broad range of military applications. The algorithms can be directly extended to commercial distributed traffic monitoring for intelligent highway systems, homeland security applications including facilities security, and for law enforcement applications such as border surveillance.
This research work moves Scientific Systems closer to its goal of enabling intelligent autonomy in unmanned systems by improving the man-machine interface between unattended sensors collecting information and the soldiers using the information.
About Scientific Systems Company, Inc.
Scientific Systems Company, Inc. (SSCI) pioneers products and technologies that provide the intelligence for unmanned ground, air and maritime vehicles to autonomously and collaboratively accomplish missions in difficult environments. A leading developer of technology solutions for defense and industrial suppliers, SSCI is one of the top 20 recipients of Small Business Innovation Research awards in the U.S. and is recognized by the U.S. Navy and Army for its record of successful technology transitions. A privately held company based in Massachusetts, SSCI collaborates with a network of defense industry prime contractors and consultants, drawing on an accumulated investment of over $150 million in advanced research and development funding.
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