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BAE Systems has finally acknowledged that it has flown the ARGUS-IS gigapixel surveillance sensor developed for DARPA. The flights took place between June and November last year, with the ARGUS pod slung under the US Army's long-legged YEH-60-60B testbed.Photo: BAE SystemsARGUS is designed to overcome the narrow "soda-straw" field of view of conventional surveillance sensors by providing multiple real-time video streams without the weight of the multi-camera systems fitted to aircraft like the Project Liberty MC-12W. DARPA says ARGUS can provide up to 65 "Predator-class" steerable video streams.The 1.8-gigapixel sensor has four optical telescopes, each with 92 5-megapixel focal-plane arrays - cellphone camera chips, says BAE. The airborne processor combines the video output from all 368 arrays together to create a single mosaic image, with an update rate of 12-15 frames a second.ARGUS-IS sensor (Art: BAE Systems)On the ground, the operator can create windows around stationary or moving targets within the image and ARGUS will down-link the video for these windows in real time. The system provides up to 65 640 x 480-pixel video streams simultaneously, limited only by datalink capacity. Also a "global motion detector" mode looks at the entire image and tags potential targets with low-res image "chips".Take a look at the image below (click on it to enlarge, but I had to reduce the resolution to upload it). It is taken by ARGUS-IS with the YEH-60B at 17,500ft over Quantico in Virginia. Each of the small yellow boxes on the mosaic image corresponds to one of the video windows down the right hand side. Image: BAE SystemsARGUS-IS is a daylight-only sensor. DARPA is kicking off a follow-on program, ARGUS-IR, to develop an infrared sensor with day/night capability. This will focus on developing an IR camera with up to 600 million pixels, as you can't pick up cellphone IR chips off the shelf.
ar99, DARPA, BAE, UAV
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