PBS stares back at 1.8-gigapixel ARGUS drone imaging system

PBS stares back at 1.8-gigapixel ARGUS drone imaging system

(Phys.org)—Described as the next generation of surveillance, and representing the world's highest resolution camera, the ARGUS-IS, which stands for Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is featured on PBS' NOVA program on drones, which describes the latest technologies behind drones. The program carries a demonstration of the imaging system, which is the result of development work at BAE Systems, a defense, security and aerospace company.

The BAE team developed the ARGUS-IS array as a project funded by the (DARPA). The importance of this surveillance centers on its unprecedented capability in finding, tracking and monitoring events in real time. The system was demonstrated by Dr. John Antoniades, technical group director for Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Exploitation Technologies at BAE. The demo was part of the NOVA episode "Rise of the Drones." He did not show the real Argus sensor because it is classified. Antoniades said the government, however, gave permission to discuss its basic capabilities. He made reference to the system having the world's highest resolution camera, which can be attached to the belly of a UAV.

With its capabilities, the system can detail areas within a very broad context, with enough zoom power to see people waving their arms and walking around in parking lots. This is a 1.8-gigapixel platform that can resolve details as small as six inches from an altitude of 17,500 feet.

He said its imaging power involves basic cellphone technology. The BAE team decided to string together 368 imaging sensors focused on the ground via image-stabilized telescopic lenses. In this manner, the ARGUS-IS array links together images to perform surveillance over enormous terrain in realtime.

In February 2010, after completing a of the ARGUS-IS, Dr. Steven Wein, BAE director of optical sensor systems, spoke of its technical edge over previous work in imaging systems.

"Very high-resolution imaging systems required for vehicle and dismount tracking typically have a 'soda-straw' view that is too small for persistent coverage. Existing wide-area systems have either inadequate resolution or require multiple passes or revisits to get updates." He said that the ARGUS-IS system overcomes the fundamental limitations of current airborne surveillance systems.

In 2007, received an $18.5 million contract from DARPA to develop a new class of intelligence, , and reconnaissance systems and capabilities.


Explore further

Flight-tests autonomous multi-target, multi-user tracking capability

More information: www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/military … e-of-the-drones.html

© 2013 Phys.org

Citation: PBS stares back at 1.8-gigapixel ARGUS drone imaging system (2013, January 29) retrieved 16 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-01-pbs-gigapixel-drone-imaging.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments


Jan 29, 2013
"In 20007, BAE Systems received an $18.5 million contract from DARPA to develop a new class of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance systems and capabilities."

> 20007

They also made a time travel device?

Jan 29, 2013
Even more interesting if you watch the Nova episode were comments along the lines of "the Argus can provide video at this high resolution amounting to something like 1 million TERAbytes per day" and that "the air force currently has the capacity to store every video stream from every drone/weapons system/targeting video etc..."

The demo of Argus shows the scientist opening up to 64 zoomed in windows of realtime video overlaid on the big picture. He also pointed out that by recording the video, you could potentially record an entire city (from 17k ft), with enough resolution to see birds, and rewind to any time on the video. The software also shows tracking boxes highlighting any object that is moving...

It makes some of the "wacko conspiracy nuts" not seem so wacko, when the _announced_ capabilities of the system match what their concerns are: tracking individual's movements, across broad areas and recorded so the ability exists to go to any point on the recording.

Jan 29, 2013
And they want your guns, too.

Jan 29, 2013
"...tracking and monitoring events in real time."

The "events" are us.

"In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered." - George Orwell "1984"

Jan 29, 2013
"...tracking and monitoring events in real time."

The "events" are us.

"In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered." - George Orwell "1984"
Well sure. And the Internet is the 2-way tv system. Only very soon AI will be able to do automatically what orwells thought police did. We will stop crime before it leaves the brain of the criminal. Your credit rating will change in real-time.

You'll get fired for merely thinking about embezzlement. Imagine showing up for work at the NSA and finding your access restricted because of a dream you had the night before-

Jan 29, 2013
We can do all this and we still don't have a flawless voting system.


If we can't vote (flawless is an understatement) then who is "doing all this"?

Jan 29, 2013
I wonder if this is some kind of fractal evolution thing going on where natural selection continues to balance the benefits of individualism versus collective effort. Multicell organisms became highly successful at the expense of single cell autonomy. Will human societies continue the trend at the larger scale? I hope the winning "recipe" doesn't end up looking like the Borg!

Jan 29, 2013
Seems privacy is becoming a word like democracy was in East Germany. Freedom of speech is going there, and soon freedom of thought, too. The day a real and functioning mind-reader is developed, Orwell's stories will seem like mere lullabies.

Jan 29, 2013
Lol, this is fun to watch because I'm currently designing an apparatus for NOVA.

Jan 30, 2013
1 Million Terabytes to watch me go to the grocery store and back to my house and tards are worried that this information should be private? Get serious people. This technology existed 20 years ago. Cameras are all around and who cares. Give them the bird if you it makes you happy.

Jan 30, 2013
This kind of system would be perfect for Red states like Kentucky and allow the police to crack down on illegal mule humping.

For cities like Detroit - which has been destroyed by Capitalism - it could be useful to reduce crime rates.

Capturing speeders should be particularly easy with this kind of surveillance.

Here in the socialist states we don't have need for this kind of device. This is particularly true for peaceful nations like Japan and Canada.


Jan 30, 2013
The person who developed the Camera isn't an American. And he can count.

That can't be said of the majority of American voters. Particularly those Tea Baggers who live in the Parasite Red states.

"We can do all this and we still don't have a flawless voting system." - DavidW

Jan 30, 2013
And now we can wait for the moment of a very advanced sniper rifle or a laser guided bullet , so they don't have to kill the wife or little children of the terrorist . They will be able to fine tune their killing machine to an individual . All supposed terrorists in the whole wide world will get house-arrest . If they put their head out of their front door they will receive a bullet in the head . lol. By the way , the USA has got permission to station drones in Niger , so they can do their work in Mali too . Terrorists in Mali are now hiding in the desert , those poor guys , they will track them down and liquidate them , poor suckers .

Jan 30, 2013
I wonder if this is some kind of fractal evolution thing going on where natural selection continues to balance the benefits of individualism versus collective effort.
The inevitable Transition will be from organic sentience to something more robust. Machines do not need individuals with contentious points of view. A singular entity which collects all info using peripherals and makes decisions, is what will be left.

Democracy is, after all, extremely wasteful yes? But competition is the only way of getting organics to accomplish anything. This is why they are obsolete.
I hope the winning "recipe" doesn't end up looking like the Borg!
The Borg was silly - why bother with all that organic processing that you have to feed, clothe, rest, eliminate waste, etc. Saberhagens berserkers, whom the collective was patterned upon, had it right.

But machines wouldn't bother roaming the universe destroying badlife if they weren't programmed to do so.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more