University of Dayton system speeds transmission of airborne surveillance data

Researchers at the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH, USA) have developed an FPGA-based program that allows surveillance systems to transmit very large, high quality images in near real time.

Apr 29th, 2011
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Researchers at the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH, USA) have developed an FPGA-based program that allows surveillance systems to transmit very large, high quality images in near real time. Funded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL; Wright-Patterson Airforce Base, OH), the program is designed to provide better images faster from imaging systems in surveillance aircraft to personnel on the ground.

Bill Turri, group leader for remote sensing at the University of Dayton Research Institute said that the need for improved image processing has become more critical in recent years with the increased use of "layered imaging" in surveillance. Multiple images taken by a variety of cameras including visible and infrared are digitally fused to create photographs that depict the landscape in rich dimensional and thermal detail. But at hundreds of megapixels each, layered images are extremely large and require significant computer storage space and transmission time.

"Current technologies create a dilemma for those operating surveillance aircraft, who want to collect high-resolution images that clearly show what's happening on the ground," said Turri. "But high-resolution images take too long to transmit to the analysts on the ground, so the choice has always been between fast and clear."

Turri and his team used field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which allowed creation of a high-performance system that use the compression performance of JPEG 2000 in files that are small enough for rapid transmission. The research team has processed hundreds of hours of live camera data using their new system, which is also being integrated into a prototype commercial system for use in law enforcement applications. As the technology continues to become more affordable, the system could be adapted for other markets, including medical imaging or consumer electronics.

SOURCE: University of Dayton Research Institute

--Posted by Vision Systems Design

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