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ISR At The Edge – AEC Skyline Continues to Support TNO Led On-Board Edge Computing Trials

isr at the edge equipment inside an airplain3 July 2023

In June the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO together with AEC Skyline conducted another series of successful on-board edge computing trials under auspices of the Netherlands Ministry of Defence. Part of the groundbreaking ISR At The Edge project that is aimed at shortening the sensor-to-shooter loop during actual military operations, the latest trials were held over the Royal Netherlands Army’s Marnewaard training area.

Whereas previous tests which were conducted in mid-2022 already demonstrated the ability to deliver real time detection and identification of ground and other targets from various live datastreams, the June trials showed performance of TNO's Edge Computing System (TECS) has since improved as planned. This includes a higher degree of autonomy with regard to detection being implemented with the EO/IR system being actively controlled by TECS.

Featuring high performance on-board processing coupled with automatic object recognition software and other AI-based algorithms, TECS fuzes imagery and data that originate from an EO/IR sensor pod and other sensor equipment into a single coherent picture. two people from TNO looking at a computer screenThe sensor systems are mounted on board a GA8 Airvan testbed aircraft that is furnished and operated by AEC Skyline. Renowned for its ability to provide key aerial services to the Netherlands and allied armed forces, the defence and aerospace industry as well as various research institutes, AEC Skyline relies om video encoding technology from its partner Haivision in order to enable high quality low latency full motion video during these trials. Air-ground connectivity is ensured by means of the Wave Relay mobile ad hoc networking (MANET) MPU5 radio from Persistent Systems, yet another partner of AEC Skyline. Furthermore, the company provides a manned ground control station which is used to monitor and share data whilst on location.

Photographs courtesy of Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research TNO