SRI, DARPA partner on visual system for unmanned surveillance

Team will design a visual intelligence system for unmanned aerial recon work

With funding from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, SRI International Inc. is leading a team to design a visual intelligence system that will usher in a new era in unmanned robotic surveillance.

The Visual Intelligence Grounded in Learning system, known as VIGIL, will be integrated with other components of DARPA’s Mind's Eye program that are being developed by research teams around the globe, according to a June 21 SRI announcement.

The result will be a smart camera system that needs minimal human supervision, can be deployed rapidly and cost effectively in unmanned vehicles stationed in areas under automatic surveillance, and can interpret behavior and identify potential threats from video data, the announcement added.

“SRI's VIGIL system combines automatic reasoning and machine perception to automatically analyze areas of interest while keeping members of the Armed Forces out of harm's way," said Hung Bui, senior computer scientist at SRI International.

For this project, SRI and its partners, the University of Leeds in England and the University of Maryland, are currently working to solve several challenges.

They include how to generate consistent interpretations based on adequate background knowledge about the structure of observed actions and objects, recognize potential threats despite incomplete or missing perceptual input and learn new patterns and situation indicators with minimal human supervision

SRI International, of Menlo Park, Calif., ranks No. 97 on Washington Technology’s 2011 Top 100 list of the largest federal government contractors.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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