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Australia’s Sentient Vision Systems has joined forces with Austrian-based Airborne Technologies and UAE & UK aircraft integration specialist Phoenix Aerospace to create a Middle East Centre of Excellence for sensor integration focussed on introducing the AW-139 Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance (SCAR) Pod to the UAE market, the companies write in a press release.

Launched at the Dubai Air Show 2021 (14-18 November), the tripartite initiative introduces the latest evolution of the ViDAR pod family, designed for a range of Search and Rescue (SAR) and Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance applications for civilian and military use. This was recently demonstrated and operated with Diamond Aircraft in Belgium.

Sentient and Airborne Technologies’ AW-139 Day/Night ViDAR SCAR Pod provides round the clock search capabilities, with real time autonomous detection of SAR targets, the companies write.

The ViDAR Artificial Intelligence and Computer Vision software scans the 180-degree electro optic and/or infra-red sensor’s imagery feed to detect targets invisible to a human operator. It then places a thumbnail image on the operator’s screen showing the bearing and range of the target, allowing for an automated cross-cue by the inspection turret. When searching small objects such as a life raft or a person in the water, ViDAR reportedly has up to 300 times greater search coverage than an aircraft without ViDAR.

The pods are laid out to carry the full ViDAR suite of high-resolution day and night capable cameras as well as image processing hardware, providing a fully integrated system.

As an EASA design, production and maintenance organisation, Airborne Technologies conducts integration trials and Phoenix Aerospace is to provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region and demonstrate the system to potential customers.