Passive ViDAR searches through the clutter

ViDAR Surface
ViDAR Surface

Sentient Vision Systems has unveiled a new Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) Surface system for surface vessels at the Indo-Pacific 2022 exhibition.

Utilising its Artificial Intelligence (AI) capability and individual pixel analysis, the company is able to provide a passive optical radar system that can detect very small moving targets amongst clutter.

Paul Harris, vice president of Business Development at Sentient told AMR this means its ViDAR systems can conduct wide area surveillance allow the scanning of a larger area of sea compared to existing turreted EO/IR systems “which is like looking through a straw.”

Sentient’s ViDAR has two versions of the AI technology in use: the first takes all the data from a wide scan and detects everything that moves, the second is a deep learning AI that is able to classify targets. This is particularly useful in grey zone operations and monitoring craft at sea.

Harris explained that the difference compared to other types of classification systems is that Sentinel’s system rules out obvious examples of clutter – such as white tops – leaving the remaining targets for the operator. It means that if a target can’t be identified it will keep it in the maritime pictures thus guaranteeing no targets will be missed.

Harris said that the benefit of a ViDAR system is that it is passive and can complement radar surveillance by offering a non-detectable surveillance option adding an extra layer of situational awareness.

He added that ViDAR can detect objects that radar has difficulty in finding, such as small inflatables and craft that are designed to avoid detection by radar such as stealth vessels and those that hide in the waves.

ViDAR is also able to detect submarine periscopes and, if it is moving, it can find the wake to aid detection. This means the system can potentially be used for anti-submarine warfare operations.

by Tim Fish