In Geospatial Intelligence Forum magazine, Henry Canaday interviews Visual Intelligence CEO Armando Guevara, to find out his thoughts on the future of sensors for UAV’s. Quoted below are some excerpts from the article.

“With federal regulations beginning to open up domestic airspace to unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and their uses for both security and commercial purposes growing rapidly around the world, this industry is entering a new era of importance. Moreover, market-driven development of advanced UAV technology for commercial needs is likely to lead to enhanced benefits for the military and intelligence users who pioneered the field.”

Mr. Canaday states, “Effective exploitation of UAVs for many new uses requires much more than just the units themselves or their traditional sensors. New use cases demand new tools and applications. Sensors must do different jobs on tight civilian budgets. UAVs must be managed differently, and sensor data must be interpreted in innovative ways for new purposes.”

Visual Intelligence’s sensor system was developed with the same forward-thinking ideas in mind. The iOne Sensor System is flexible and adaptable for many different uses, providing a modern platform that brings a variety of options to aerial data collection.

“Several companies are taking a fresh look at what UAVs and their sensors could do in commercial applications. While focusing on the civilian market, these companies are developing technologies that may well end up offering benefits for military and intelligence users over the long haul.”

“Another company attempting to make UAV sensors more flexible and economical is Visual Intelligence, which describes its iOne Software Sensor Tool Kit Architecture as offering a more efficient approach to combining sensors on UAVs. iOne has developed a critical piece of hardware, the Advanced Retinal Camera Array, embedded in software. “Like the original Dell with PCs, we want to make it much more economic for small UAVs to use multipurpose cameras,” explained CEO Armando Guevara. His aim is to allow multiple EO cameras—nadir, oblique and stereo imaging—to use one array. These cameras could then be built very economically and using them with a common array that would provide a small, efficient package ideal for small UAVs. The reconfigurable iOne software can work with imagery of 6,000 to 30,000 pixels across. “If I have nine camera modules with 29 megapixels each, I can make a virtual image look like one camera took it,” Guevara explained. The company’s cameras are rigorously geometric and radiometrically calibrated, with errors of less than half a pixel. They can thus be used for photogrammetry to build up 3-D models of areas observed. Visual Intelligence can also co-mount and co-register with other sensors, such as LiDAR, IR and radar, and fuse images on the fly. Guevara said he plans to release an iOne kit for small UAVs later this year. He is also developing a content ecosystem to interpret images that could serve virtually any use case.”

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