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One Sensor to Do the Work of Many

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The ARGUS-IS sensor has sharp-enough resolution to identify and track individual people from four miles up in the sky.

Credit: DARPA

U.S. Pentagon scientists have developed the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System (ARGUS-IS), a sensor system that can spot and track more than 65 targets simultaneously from altitudes higher than 20,000 feet. ARGUS-IS "could provide video situational awareness for an area more than 40 square kilometers, an area the size of a small city," says Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Richard Spearman.

The system consists of 368 five-megapixel video chips in four cameras. The images from each camera are merged to create one large, high-definition image.

ARGUS-IS transmits a full-resolution image of everything it sees to a ground station where operators can draw a box around an area of interest, which is then transmitted through a high-resolution video. The system's processor, which can handle 400 gigabits of data every second, incorporates 28 parallel processors. Computer algorithms recognize shapes, color, motion, and can follow a moving object. If the tracked object goes out of view, the software predicts where it is expected to emerge.

From Defense News
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