Malibu (PRWEB) March 26, 2008
In the urban battlefield, everyday objects have military interest. Rooftops can become landing fields. Trashcans and vehicles can harbor terrorists or explosive devices.
To better distinguish objects in the urban battlefield, HRL Laboratories, LLC, has been awarded a $3.2-million, 18-month contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to help develop a revolutionary 3-D object-recognition system for its Urban Reasoning and Geospatial Exploitation Technology program, or URGENT.
As part of the URGENT program, HRL scientists will capitalize on years of imaging research and innovation to advance the state of the art and provide significant improvements to current urban-imaging capabilities. HRL's proposed URGENT solution will initially identify 100 preselected objects from 3-D LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) scans of urban environments. The proposed system will also provide a fully automated object-classification process, a "bio-inspired" object-recognition capability, and a search and optimization mechanism for identifying objects in large urban landscapes.
According to project leaders Drs. Swarup Medasani and Yuri Owechko, senior scientists in HRL's Advanced Technologies Department, the URGENT solution will provide a number of innovations over existing technologies. "We plan to develop multi-resolution algorithms for processing LIDAR data, human-like approaches for object recognition, and cognitive swarm technologies for precisely and rapidly identifying objects of interest, despite variations in shape and incomplete data," Medasani said.
"Current U.S. tactical and national intelligence imagery is processed, exploited, and disseminated using myriad disparate systems," Owechko added. "Our goal is to build a tool that is complementary to new and more integrated processing and exploitation systems and will provide quick dissemination of critical targeting information and situational awareness to military intelligence and operations centers."
The URGENT program will benefit from a large volume of previous research at HRL marking state-of-the-art advances in object-recognition technology. The URGENT team will use a powerful bio-inspired technique developed at HRL that provides automatic, robust feature extraction as a building block for the URGENT solution.
HRL will collaborate with Boeing Phantom Works, the University of Southern California, YLC Consulting, and Netscale on the URGENT program.
HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California, is a corporate R&D laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors. HRL provides custom research and development and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC Members, the U.S. government, and other commercial entities.