iWD combines one or more small UAS with a network of autonomous, unmanned, ground sensors to provide an on-call UAS surveillance capability. When one of the sensors detects a change (e.g., a sound, or movement), it sends this data wirelessly to iWD, which then dispatches one of the UAS under its control to investigate (e.g. take optical videos) – all without human intervention.
While the UAS is performing its mission, iWD also monitors its battery state and remaining endurance. At the appropriate time, iWD will recall the UAS and, if the mission requires a continuous airborne presence, dispatch another UAS for automatic hand-over of the task. So the human operator simply assesses the situation and approves or disapproves of the tasking of the UAS to perform an on-demand mission generated by iWD (based on the detections received from the sensors).
Benefits of the iWD
Benefits will depend on the particular application, but they are primarily related to reduced labour costs and improved performance as follows:
- Considerable cost saving is achieved by eliminating the requirement for a full-time, hands-on operator. Instead, the human responds to the system’s outputs, (e.g., a perimeter breach is detected and an image displayed for human assessment) and makes the appropriate decisions.
- The level and quality of vigilance are significantly improved because the remote sensors run 24/7 and don’t suffer the limitation of human attention degradation over time.
- Detection-to-confirmation time is reduced – in the case of perimeter breaches or range incursions, the UAS will provide near real-time confirmation of why the sensor detection occurred. This avoids the cost of sending a human(s) out to investigate.
- The number of third-party injury claims is reduced because intruders are less likely to penetrate the perimeter undetected and sustain injuries within the restricted area.
Video Demonstration Storyline – Asset Protection
In the iWD demonstration video, the iWD configuration consists of 1 UAS and three sensors to detect intrusions. These communicate wirelessly with iWD. The human’s role is to view the video when alerted to do so, and to make the necessary command decisions to manage the intrusion.
The demonstration area is an open field that allows the UAS to operate effectively. The asset (a Land Rover and trailer) is near the centre of the field and the sensors are spread out west of the asset to provide the western “Trip wire” boundary. There is a mock-up of the charging pad north of the outermost sensor to demonstrate the system can provide surveillance over long periods with the UAS auto-recharging.
Once a sensor is triggered, the iWD must confirm the nature of the detection by automatically dispatching a UAS, with iWD providing the UAS with a projected location so that the UAS can anticipate the intruder’s movement.
When nearby, iWD manoeuvres the UAS to position it in the optimal spot to provide video coverage, e.g., with the sun behind the camera lens on sunny days. Then, depending on how the iWD is configured, the UAS may remain at a distance to observe the intruder without revealing its presence, or approach to provide close up images.
When the UAS is within a nominal range of the intruder it notifies iWD and starts transmitting video. iWD alerts the human supervisor and provides a video feed to them on the iWD screen and a tablet.
The human can then confirm the nature of the intrusion and initiate action if required. In this demo case, the UAS is instructed to monitor the intrusion and follow progress. Should the instruction call for continuous monitoring, iWD would likely dispatch a UGV to assume the monitoring role. This assures uninterrupted monitoring as the UGV can remain in this role for a considerable period.