Elbit Systems field tested its Skylark I-LE mini-UAS with Swedish company Imint new software named Vidview in live flights north of Uppsala.
Tests were carried out for real emergency first response and fire fighting scenarios. The Uppsala Fire Brigade was supporting the field trials, providing use cases for forest fire fighting and searching for missing people.
The field trials marked the completion of a joint research- and development project between Imint and Elbit Systems, aiming at improve UAS usability in civilian applications. Imint's software improved visibility and decision making capabilities and the trials demonstrated ease of use for novel users.
Elbit Systems UAS division (Elbit UAS) and Imint - Image Intelligence AB (Imint) have worked together during the last years, culminating in the development of a robust interface between Elbit’s Ground Control Station (GCS) for the Skylark mini UAS and Imint's Vidview and Vidhance software.
The companies started a joint project under bilateral Israeli and Swedish research grants in the EUREKA! program, with Vinnova as the Swedish aiding authority. The completed field trials marked the conclusion of the project. The main purpose of the project has been to bring the benefits of Imint's Vidhance software into the established user interface of the GCS used by Skylark mini UAS operators.
David Rosenzweig, Director of Close-Range UAS at Elbit UAS, commented on the trials: "We believe UAS can play a more important role in civil applications in the future in addition to the wide military use. We see a growing interest from the market, and this project with Imint is a response - we want to make the systems easier to use also for those with less training available."
With a robust interface in place a full integration can now be pursued, aiming at providing Imint’s Vidhance technology as feature upgrade options to Elbit's current and future customers. Imint's Vidhance technology gives access to unique and efficient real-time video processing algorithms allowing for automatic local contrast optimization, pan, zoom, and rotation functions, local mosaicing, ultra-stabilization.
Vidhance also adds fusion of geo telemetry data, enabling for example automatic "sky up" horizon alignment in the video. Vidhance features showed bringing visibility and interpretability capabilities to the Skylark® system, increasing the likelihood of accurately understand time critical events. As the use of UAS is expected to show a large growth in non-military scenarios, such as disaster control, search-and-rescue missions and fire fighting, the ease of use aspects will likely come more into focus, as UAS operators cannot be provided the same amount of dedicated training.
Andreas Lifvendahl, CEO at Imint, concluded: "It was very satisfying to see the result of a long project working well in field trials, and also interesting to discuss application areas and user requirements for the type of future new users represented by the fire fighters. It proves that the focus we at Imint have on human perception and making the best out of real time video, is correct and will become even more relevant."