The following SeeTrack v4 modules have been found to make both military and security operations quicker, safer and more cost-effective.
Area Breakdown Tool (ABT)
SeeTrack v4 allows operators to create Operational Areas, like Q-routes and Polygon areas, potentially covering a large expanse of ocean, to use them for mission planning of unmanned systems. SeeTrack also supports the import of Q-routes and Operational Areas. These Operational Areas can routinely be so large that it is impossible for a single unmanned maritime system (UMS) to survey the area in a timely manner.
To facilitate the planning and execution of these increasingly complex unmanned maritime operations, SeeByte’s Area Breakdown Tool has been designed to help operators divide large Operational Areas into smaller sections that can be assigned to a single squad or asset. The Area Breakdown Tool will aid the operator to efficiently prepare a set of sortie plans and quickly evaluate alternatives for a complex mission involving multiple vehicles.
Automatic Target Recognition (ATR)
New sensor technologies deployed on off-board unmanned systems provide navies with improved imagery and data for the purposes of Mine Countermeasures (MCM). Improved sensor resolution has many benefits but also places a strain on operators due to the volume and complexity of the data to be analysed.
Typically, when performing Post-Mission Analysis (PMA) on data gathered by Unmanned Maritime Systems (UMS), a highly trained team of operators must analyse large volumes of data over long periods of time. The result has been an increase in the training necessary for operators.
To assist the operator, Automatic Target Recognition is designed to detect mine-like objects from the sidescan sonar data. Further analysis provides a measure of how ‘mine-like’ each of the targets is and the operator may decide if the target is a mine or a false alarm. SeeByte’s ATR uses fast, supervised classification techniques to classify shapes such as cylinders, wedges, and truncated cone shapes, which provide a step-up improvement in processing speeds and results.
Performance Analysis Training Tool
SeeByte’s SeeTrack Performance Analysis and Training Tool (PATT) can be used to assess the Mine Countermeasure (MCM) capabilities of a complete MCM system. Such capabilities are generally evaluated through expensive sea trials that only use a small number of targets.
To address this problem, PATT inserts multiple simulated targets into real side-scan sonar data, allowing accurate quantitative estimates to be obtained. The simulated targets have realistic sensor performance qualities added to them as part of the process.
This Augmented Reality approach quantitatively measures the capability of either an operator or an ATR algorithm to effectively clear a survey region.
Terrain Complexity Algorithm
Cluttered regions present challenges to operators and ATR algorithms. Some environments are littered with natural features approximating the appearance of typical targets. Other environments can act as hiding places for these targets, such as deep ripples in the seabed. Unless these areas are flagged to the operator, increased false alarm rates and decreased detection rates will seriously reduce performance and the operator’s trust in the system.
SeeByte has developed a methodology for estimating clutter density using wavelet features to provide an estimate of complexity and anisotropy (degree of structure) of the seafloor regions within the side-scan sonar imagery. Complex areas, such as rock beds and sea grass, are typically complex but not anisotropic (e.g. directional). Textured seafloors with varying heights of sand ripples are o[en both complex and anisotropic.
The SeeByte approach allows regions of high clutter density to be automatically identified at the same time as the ATR processes the imagery. This capability allows the operator to view the regions of high clutter in a very rapid, automated manner. In these areas, a more considered PMA process and possibly a different data collection strategy may be required. The system allows the operator to quickly decide if they are interested in the ATR output from these specifically highlighted regions.
Change Detection Module
As data processing capabilities are now portable, operators can work in the field. SeeTrack offers a change detection module that allows operators to rapidly identify changes, even while working in field environments, without the need for laborious side-by-side image comparison of current versus historic data.
The SeeTrack Change Detection module can be used to fuse and compare side-scan sonar data to highlight any significant changes. The key to SeeTrack’s Change Detection module is that it operates at the contact level. The standard approach, operating on the raw sonar image, requires running the same vehicle and sonar setup through exactly the same mission plan. This is highly susceptible to any change in the environment and requires a level of navigational accuracy which is difficult to guarantee. In contrast SeeTrack considers the contact level data and considers the location and spatial distribution of the targets within the surveyed region to flag possible new threats.