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Military Embedded Systems

HRL Receives Award to Develop Next-Generation Threat Warning System

HRL Laboratories — April 4, 2008

LOS ANGELES, March 24, 2008—HRL Laboratories, LLC, has been awarded $4.3 million for the first phase of an effort to develop a threat warning device that will enable fighting forces to rapidly detect and assess long- and short-range threats. The bio-inspired system, dubbed the Cognitive Technology Threat Warning System, or CT2WS, will combine cognitive, neural, and adaptive elements to produce a fully-integrated, portable warning device to provide real-time battlefield awareness.

The CT2WS programs goal is to improve situational awareness in a variety of operations, such as reconnaissance and surveillance, as well as enhancing standard infantry tactics. “CT2WS will bring together cutting-edge optics, sensors, and processing, which will allow users to apply their training and experience to a broader range of situations,” said Dr. Deepak Khosla, Senior Scientist in HRLs System Sciences Office and Program Manager for CT2WS.

The CT2WS system will be designed to categorize and prioritize potential threats using a combination of bio-inspired technologies as well as actual neural signals from the user. At the heart of the system lies a revolutionary processing engine—the Cognitive Neural Subsystem (CNS)—which combines recent advances in computer vision, cognitive (brain-like) algorithms, and actual neural signatures of visual processing.

The final device is planned to automatically scan a field of view more than ten times as wide as that available using standard army binoculars. This will be coupled with digital techniques that provide far higher resolution and greater effective visual distance than todays binoculars. “The entire prototype system will be roughly the size of a football, weigh less than five pounds, and use less power than a 20 Watt light bulb,” Khosla said.

The initial $4.3-million contract, awarded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agencys Defense Sciences Office (DARPA/DSO), will enable HRL and its subcontractors to begin the first phase of a three-part development process. Phase one will illustrate the feasibility of the underlying CT2WS concept by demonstrating real-world object detection using the key technology components and preliminary designs for the device. Subsequent phases will produce a fully-integrated prototype and involve extensive field testing and transition to field use. If all phases are completed, the total value of the effort could be up to $25 million.

HRL will collaborate on the development of the CT2WS with subcontractors L3-Brashear, the University of Southern California, Georgia Institute of Technology, Neuro-Matters Consulting, Neuromorphix, and Advanced Brain Monitoring.

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HRL Laboratories, LLC, Malibu, California, is a corporate research-and-development laboratory owned by The Boeing Company and General Motors. HRL provides custom R&D and performs additional R&D contract services for its LLC members, the U.S. government, and other commercial entities.