What is situational awareness ?

It is an aid in the perception and awareness of an environment.
This includes a combination of three elements:

  • Sensors with very wide fields of perception
  • A sensor’s information analysis algorithm
  • A machine with a user-friendly and ergonomic interface presenting the results of these analyses.

What is situational awareness for ?

It allows a person to apprehend their immediate and surrounding environment, with a performance superior to that which their own senses can achieve in real-time, helping them to react and interact whilst performing a mission.
Furthermore, the situational awareness function of the machine is at the core of its autonomy during complex missions (i.e. autonomous land, air and sea vehicles, drones, robots working in outdoor environments etc.)

What type of technology is necessary ?

To get good perception in all types of extreme situations, a single type of sensor technology is not enough. The situational awareness function uses new types of miniaturized ultra-high-performance sensors (solid-state radar, active lidar / ToF depth camera imaging, night vision, throughfog imagers, thermal and near-infrared sensor, hyperspectral imagers, high-speed imagers) and sophisticated artificial intelligence analysis algorithm calculators (GPU/CPU, neural processor, FPGA).

Why Nexvision got involved in situational awareness ?

It was a natural progression. The intelligent perception of the environment is the technical basis of our market. With the rapid evolution in this type of technology, especially in terms of computing power, the possibilities today for applications based on vision systems are enormous and will only increase in the future. Over the course of our R & D projects, Nexvision has structured itself in such a way that we now have all the necessary skills in-house to build complex, tailor-made vision systems based on one or multiple image sensors whilst developing the entire system going with it; whether it be in electronic embedding (hardware, software – including image processing and analysis algorithms), but also optical and mechanical systems, with strong expertise in the fields of aeronautics, defense, security and transport.

What are the key success factors ?

Technical performance, quality assurance, ergonomics and price.

How will this evolve in the years to come ?

This will result in an explosion in the complexity and performance necessary for even more autonomous systems and robots; being that people will always seek to go faster and deal in more extreme conditions. Intelligent sensors for environment assessment must therefore follow this evolution; for without this, these robots will not be able to operate.