Real-time 3D data fusion arrives [CANSEC2016D2]

26 May 2016

Lockheed Martin CDL Systems (Booth 1311) of Calgary, Alberta, is showcasing Hydra Fusion Tools – a new so ware solution that simultaneously localises and maps incoming visual data from commercial or military manned or unmanned systems into a three-dimensional (3-D) environment.

Hydra Fusion Tools creates a fused common operational picture of different data streams such as maps, images, video and intelligence in an accurate, 3D world presentation that can be fully manipulated by the operator. These image streams are geometrically stitched together into an immersive 3D world view, showcasing buildings, trees, vehicles and terrain, to create a real-world model of any site – be it a tactical situation, an industrial plant, or an agricultural landscape.

The system runs on commercial computers leveraging state-of-the-art graphical processing units to render the entire evolving scenario in real time.

“Hydra Fusion Tools’ stand-out feature is its ability to turn big data into actionable intelligence,” John Molberg, business development manager at Lockheed Martin CDL Systems, told the Show Daily. “This is true world-leading technology – there is nothing else out there that does this, everything else is just post-processing.”

In development for the past two years, the Hydra Fusion Tools system comes in two variants – the baseline Hydra for commercial use, with agriculture and first responder application, and Hydra Tactical, which is specifically for military use.

CDL is demonstrating Hydra Fusion Tools at CANSEC with its man-portable, soldier-wearable tactical mobile ground control station (mGCS) and an Indago quadrotor unmanned air system (UAS) equipped with an EO/IR payload.

mGCS is a STANAG 4586 compliant commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) so ware application that serves as the UAS operator’s user interface for controlling and monitoring mini and small unmanned vehicle systems.

Designed for use on portable computers and hand-held controllers, mGCS is engineered to be integrated with almost any UAS systems. In cases where sensor and/or vehicle control is not available, mGCS doubles as a remote viewing terminal (RVT).

CDL Systems is also showing its Northstar solution, an advanced localisation and mapping engine – currently under development – which computes a UAS’s position from a single frame-to-frame moving camera source. is is facilitated by performing thousands of feature detections in real time, and determining the vehicle position from the frame-over-frame movement of those features.

The system can utilise inertial measurement unit and intermittent global positioning system input, to refine position calculations, but neither is mandatory.

The system, which can use existing camera payloads or a dedicated mapping lens, uses so ware that runs on COTS graphical processing units as either part of a PC, or as a standalone GPU superchip.

“Hydra builds the map, Lockheed Martin Northstar extracts the position,” said Molberg.

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