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Sentient demonstrates ViDAR optical radar in Europe
ScanEagle with ViDAR. © Insitu

Sentient demonstrates ViDAR optical radar in Europe

Sentient has announced the successful demonstration of its ViDAR airborne optical radar system to European maritime surveillance agencies at Huelva, Spain in May.

Australian company Sentient has announced the successful demonstration of its ViDAR airborne optical radar system to European maritime surveillance agencies in May. A ViDAR-equipped Insitu ScanEagle remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) detected and tracked small boats and people in the water on a trial at Huelva, Spain.

Representatives of the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA), European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) and European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) saw the ViDAR-equipped ScanEagle detect and cue a range of representative targets over a broad search area, on missions representative of border control, anti-drug trafficking, illegal fishing detection and search and rescue operations.

During the evaluation, ViDAR successfully autonomously detected all targets, including fast Rigid Inflatable Boats, fishing vessels, rubber rafts and people in the water. Using ViDAR, the ScanEagle detected fishing vessels out beyond 14 nautical miles and a life raft in 35 knot winds with 6 feet swells in a very short time period.

ViDAR is an airborne high-resolution digital surveillance system, scanning a 180-degree arc ahead of an air vehicle and autonomously detecting, tracking and alerting ground-based operators to surface contacts in real time.

Added to ScanEagle as a plug-and-play modular airframe “slice”, ViDAR provides ground stations with an image and location coordinate of each detected object, allowing operators to detect, classify and identify targets in seconds and cross-cue the spotter sensor for closer inspection if desired.

ViDAR is claimed to enable over 80 times the sortie area coverage of existing optical systems, effectively turning small RPAS vehicles into effective wide area surveillance assets.

The trial in Spain follows on from similar demonstrations to the Royal Navy in October 2016 and to the U.S. Coast Guard in September 2016.

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