The removal of restrictions to Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) flight for commercial applications presents UAV manufacturers with a new remit to create surveillance systems capable of supporting not only military roles, but also a new range of wide area civilian monitoring projects.
Projected civilian scenarios, including the deployment of small and micro unmanned aircraft systems (MUAS) and aero stats (tethered or static aerial platforms such as a airships) range from fire fighting, maritime search & rescue and anti-piracy roles, to broadcasting, asset tracking and monitoring of transport networks and utilities. Anywhere terrain or scale of project would limit traditional ground based surveillance and monitoring techniques and technology.
To deliver a UAV surveillance package requires a balance of available frequency, power, size and weight, all of which need to be designed and manufactured for both airworthiness and industry compatibility with international standards for data links and image data transfer. The challenge is to balance all these considerations within an increasingly miniaturised form factor whilst meeting the needs of air platform surveillance, which are live digital feeds in high definition (HD).
A digital HD feed is a key requirement for quality digital zoom which provides useful surveillance and identification from video platforms mounted to UAVs. This capability also enables the aerial platform to be deployed at a distance from the surveillance target to ensure covert operation.
Deploying HD places a burden on radio bandwidth and range with new video compression CODECs needing efficient modulation techniques and increased processing power. Yet smaller form factor UAVs demand low or no power consumption. The many different sizes of UAV and range requirements for civilian applications facilitates a flexible hardware platform that can be made to fit short range MUAS as well as larger, longer range UAVs.
Wood & Douglas has a strong pedigree in provision of live video and telemetry to ground operators for tactical military UAV projects. This knowledge has enabled it to create and manufacture surveillance systems that are rugged enough for day to day use, simple to deploy, and safe for use within both military and civilian airspace.
Wood & Douglas is focussed on developing UAV packaging that supports a range of aircraft and provides HD Digital Video for Moving Objects (dVMo), to enable the highest quality live and remote video monitoring. Wood & Douglas’ HD dVMo uses advanced COFDM (Coded Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing) encoding techniques making it highly robust and resilient with excellent spectral efficiency. COFDM provides a dramatically enhanced link performance in the presence of multipath signals, reducing interference and making it highly suited for mounting on a range of aerial vehicles.
Telemetry communication with the UAV, in optimum conditions, can provide a working range of up to 200 kilometres, enabling the camera to be turned on or off when ordered and with option for full ‘pan, tilt and zoom’ control. With clear line of sight, live video transmission from a UAV can exceed 80 kilometres, especially if telemetry is used to control the remote switching from COFDM to transmitted video in standard definition (SD) which effectively doubles the signal range.
The dVMo package is however designed with HD video in mind. Depending on the range and performance required, and with H.264 based video encoding, the package is capable of sending live imagery at full 1080p HD resolution. This enables operators to employ digital zoom with clearly defined results on screen, enabling surveillance targets to be located, identified and a relevant response formulated to meet an ever widening range of operational deployment scenarios within civilian airspace.
- Rugged, cost effective telemetry for unmanned aerial vehicles
- High quality video transmission for accurate surveillance
- Long range operation