Smart-mapping payload enables UAS to deliver faster ID, intelligence data

XPONENTIAL 2018--DENVER. Insitu -- a subsidiary of The Boeing Company and Overwatch Imaging -- has successfully integrated a customized TK-5 Firewatch smart tactical mapping payload on Insitu’s ScanEagle unmanned aerial system (UAS). The Firewatch-equipped ScanEagle will operate with real-time fire line maps and wide-area, high-resolution imagery intelligence for wildfire management, disaster recovery, and other UAS applications.

The TK-5 Firewatch payload, say Insitu officials, maps more than 50,000 acres per hour with resolution much greater than high-altitude or space-based multiband imaging systems. The Firewatch system features fast image data and onboard processing capability to enable rapid identification and delivery of precision geospatial intelligence on a large scale. The Firewatch capability will enable ScanEagle to “fly the gaps,” day or night, when traditional mapping or surveillance assets are unavailable or flight conditions are too hazardous for manned aircraft.

The TK-5 Firewatch payload autonomously collects high-quality imagery in visible, near-infrared, and thermal infrared spectral bands simultaneously; brings that imagery onboard; and analyzes that imagery in real time using GPU-accelerated processors and advanced computer vision software.

Data from the Firewatch payload, including multiband imagery and vector map layers, is then integrated with Insitu’s INEXA Solutions suite of remote sensing products and information delivery services. All of it is compatible with Esri’s ArcGIS software.

“The customized TK-5 Firewatch, which operates on ScanEagle in addition to the EO/IR [electro-optical/infrared] video payload, provides a great imaging and aerial data processing platform to drive Insitu’s sophisticated analytics solutions. This payload operates in harmony with Insitu INEXA computer vision software, and helps to further differentiate ScanEagle from other airborne assets by providing real-time geospatial intelligence tailored for each of our customer applications,” said Andrew Duggan, Vice President and General Manager, Insitu Commercial – Asia/Pacific.