DSEI 2023 – Sentient Vision Systems Airborne ViDAR for Stalker

David Oliver

At DSEI 2023, Sentient Vision Systems, an Australian company based in Port Melbourne, announced it had successfully completed live demonstrations of its AI-enabled Visual Detection and Ranging (ViDAR) payload deployed on Edge Autonomy’s VXE30 UAS

The VXE30 vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) solution is the latest and most advanced version of the Stalker series of small uncrewed aerial systems (sUAS). When coupled with Sentient’s ViDAR, the VXE30 provides a passive, wide area search capability, enabling it to serve a myriad of maritime operations.

ViDAR utilises AI, Computer Vision, and Machine Learning integrated with Electro-Optic and Infrared (EO/IR) sensors to passively detect objects that are difficult to spot by the human eye or recognize on a conventional radar. With these enhanced capabilities, Stalker will be more capable of accurately detecting and locating people, objects, and vessels at day or night far from the operator. It can detect objects with no electronic or radar cross section, for example people in rubber boats.

ViDAR has been deployed on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions (ISR), maritime patrol and border protection, as well as search and rescue missions since 2015. ViDAR is proven to be effective in challenging maritime conditions up to Sea State 6. 

More than 250 ‘portable’ and ‘packable’ mini drones will be delivered to the Armed Forces after the award of a contract worth £129 million to Lockheed Martin UK

Replacing existing Mini Uncrewed Aerial Systems (MUAS) such as Desert Hawk 3, 105 fixed-wing Stalker VXE30 drones will be delivered to the UK armed forces as part of a £129 million awarded to Lockheed Martin UK as part of the Tiquila programme. which are due to be operational by the end of 2024.

Weighing a little over 20 kilogrammes and with a 4.88 metre wingspan, the portable Stalker is an operationally proven, vertical-launched, near-silent drone providing more than eight hours of imaging capability and able to cover around 60 miles.

Sentient is also developing Kestrel, a platform agnostic Moving Target Indicator (MTI) software that enhances full motion video by eliminating the “soda-straw” effect mounted on an AW390 helicopter. The system allows  early long range target detection in 20x large areas. Kestrel tracks objects as they move and, if commanded, leaves a ‘bread crumb’ trail showing a record of the subject’s movements that could be an individual on foot in a crowd, or a vehicle on a busy street.

Photo courtesy Sentient Vision Systems