World Security Report News2014-06-20 07:26:13

RFEL launch fused Driver Vision Enhancement solution

RFEL, who specialises in high performance, electronic video and signal processing solutions, in collaboration with KTK Kommunikationstechnik, GuS and Rheinmetall Defence have launched an advanced fused Driver Vision Enhancement (fDVE) solution at Eurosatory.

Typical sensor types used for defence and security applications are daylight sensors (mostly CCD), lowlight sensors (image intensifier tubes) or thermal imaging sensors (MWIR/LWIR). Each type of sensor has its specific advantages and disadvantages. Whilst daylight sensors are good in daylight conditions, they tend to be bad in lowlight conditions. On the other hand, thermal imaging sensors excel in daylight or lowlight situations but tend to show less detail. The typical solution is to blend daylight and thermal imaging but this results in a loss of contrast and definition relative to the original daylight image.

The new approach of this team combines the benefits of current camera and computing technology and leverages them for military usage. The fDVE is a fully modular concept for enhancing vision capabilities. Rather than having a fixed solution, the system is based on a standardised mechanical and electric interface to cater for different kinds of cameras / sensor types in a mix and match manner.

The system can be enhanced with an additional single rear view sensor. Based on mission requirements, different kinds of sensors can be used such as combinations of EMCCD night vision in conjunction with LWIR thermal imaging, or CCD-based day vision in combination with SWIR for reconnaissance scenarios. Furthermore, this approach can be used to enable an upgrade path from legacy PAL to HD-SDI interfaces without changing any of the installed computing hardware.
From a logistics and procurement perspective, the present approach assures a high return on investment. Not every vehicle has to be equipped with day and thermal vision all of the time, particularly when most vehicles are in storage, unused, or sitting in a depot. Expensive sensors can be pooled for usage within missions and can be swapped to different "fresh vehicles whenever an equipped vehicle needs to be replaced.

At the heart of this new fDVE is the HALOâ„¢ Video Processing Solution from RFEL. This FPGA-based platform processes all video streams with the minimum possible latency in order to be suitable for "man in the loop usage", such as for driving purposes.

One core functionality i.e. image fusion between two sensors, is completely different from simple image blending. RFEL's state-of-the-art fusion algorithm processes the images captured by two sensors, generally from different wavelengths, and is able to maintain the best attributes from both input images for the resulting output. This, in combination with image stabilisation, provides the user with the best view possible for informed decisions.

The fDVE concept can also be adapted to other applications such as reconnaissance or situational awareness. Customer and vehicle-specific integration capabilities as well as integration of a fDVE within vehicle modernisation programmes are possible.

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