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Proceedings Paper

Towards an autonomous sensor architecture for persistent area protection
Author(s): Paul A. Thomas; Gillian F. Marshall; Daniel J. Stubbins; David A. Faulkner
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Paper Abstract

The majority of sensor installations for area protection (e.g. critical national infrastructure, military forward operating bases, etc.) make use of banks of screens each containing one or more sensor feeds, such that the burden of combining data from the various sources, understanding the situation, and controlling the sensors all lies with the human operator. Any automation in the system is generally heavily bespoke for the particular installation, leading to an inflexible system which is difficult to change or upgrade. We have developed a modular system architecture consisting of intelligent autonomous sensor modules, a high level decision making module, a middleware integration layer and an end-user GUI. The modules are all effectively "plug and play", and we have demonstrated that it is relatively simple to incorporate legacy sensors into the architecture. We have extended our previously-reported SAPIENT demonstration system to operate with a larger number and variety of sensor modules, over an extended area, detecting and classifying a wider variety of "threat activities", both vehicular and pedestrian. We report the results of a demonstration of the SAPIENT system containing multiple autonomous sensor modules with a range of modalities including laser scanners, radar, TI, EO, acoustic and seismic sensors. They operate from a combination of mains, generator and battery power, and communicate with the central “hub” over Ethernet, point-to-point wireless links and Wi-Fi. The system has been configured to protect an extended area in a complex semi-urban environment. We discuss the operation of the SAPIENT system in a realistic demonstration environment (which included significant activity not under trial control), showing sensor cueing, multi-modal sensor fusion, threat prioritisation and target hand-off.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 October 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9995, Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence XII, 99950R (24 October 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2242181
Show Author Affiliations
Paul A. Thomas, Defence Science and Technology Lab. (United Kingdom)
Gillian F. Marshall, QinetiQ Ltd. (United Kingdom)
Daniel J. Stubbins, Defence Science and Technology Lab. (United Kingdom)
David A. Faulkner, QinetiQ Ltd. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9995:
Optics and Photonics for Counterterrorism, Crime Fighting, and Defence XII
Douglas Burgess; Gari Owen; Henri Bouma; Felicity Carlysle-Davies; Robert James Stokes; Yitzhak Yitzhaky, Editor(s)

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