Sentient’s ViDAR payload to transform Maritime ISR through global distribution agreement with Insitu

Published on: June 2016

06 June 2016 Melbourne, Australia


Sentient Vision Systems, is excited to announce the signing of an exclusive global distribution agreement with Insitu for the ViDAR (Visual Detection and Ranging) software for unmanned systems within the tactical UAS weight class.

Insitu will incorporate the ViDAR payload into its fleet of unmanned systems, beginning with its ScanEagle unmanned aircraft. The ViDAR software is built into the ScanEagle payload by Hood Technologies.

ViDAR is a wide area autonomous detection system for electro-optic imagery in the maritime domain enabling coverage over 80 times the ocean’s surface compared with existing electro-optic sensors. ViDAR transforms the utility of tactical UAS’s by giving them a ‘find’ function for the first time. Operators typically must rely on larger, more expensive aircraft to detect objects in the ocean; ViDAR provides the find capability in a smaller, more cost-effective payload.

“For two decades, Insitu has been at the forefront of customer-inspired innovation,” said Don Williamson, Insitu’s vice president of the ScanEagle product line. “Adding ViDAR’s capability to ScanEagle demonstrates our focus on continuing to deliver mission-critical technology for our global customer’s maritime ISR needs.”

“The inability to find objects on the ocean’s surface has placed a huge limitation on the utility of tactical UAS.” said Simon Olsen, Sentient’s Director of Business Development, Strategy and Partnerships. “ViDAR literally changes the game. Fast boats, rubber rafts or even a person in the water – ViDAR finds them all – and does so at a fraction of the size and cost of existing technologies.”

ViDAR fits a modular slice on ScanEagle that comprises a large backplane digital video camera that continuously scans the ocean in a 180-degree arc in front of the air vehicle. Sentient’s ViDAR software then autonomously detects any object on the surface of the ocean, providing the ground control station with an image and location coordinate of each object detected in real time. The primary sensor can then be cross-cued to the object by simply clicking on the image. In demonstrations, ViDAR has autonomously detected a fishing vessel at 14 nm, a fast boat at more than 9 nm and even the spout of a whale at 1.5 nm from the aircraft.


Picture:L to R: Don Williamson (VP, ScanEagle Program), Suzanne McNamara (VP,
Business Development), Ryan Hartman (CEO), Simon Olsen, Andrew Duggan (MD, Insitu Pacific)


About Sentient
Sentient Vision Systems develops and deploys computer vision solutions for defense and civil applications. Since 1999 Sentient has specialized in video analytics with a primary focus on the development of automated detection software for full motion video. Sentient’s solutions enhance the performance of EO/IR operations for many agencies and forces worldwide.
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