Officials of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., issued a request for information late last week (DARPA-SN-15-27) for the Hardware and Software for Unmanned Vessel Perception project.
Unmanned vehicle payload experts in the DARPA Tactical Technology Office are trying to identify currently available sensor systems and image-processing technologies to support automatic real-time surface vessel detection and classification from electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) and light detection and ranging (LIDAR) sensors.
Unmanned surface vessels under development must rely on a multi-sensor suite of active and passive sensors for collision avoidance, detecting hazards to navigation, as well as to detect and classify surface vessels and surface vessel states.
DARPA researchers are looking for mature that can be tested in proxy and operational environments and integrated with other technologies with limited additional development. Experts want to test unmanned sensor payloads in a variety of weather and visibility conditions to push the boundaries of automated hazard detection onboard unmanned surface vessels.
This testing will enable unmanned surface vessels to these vessels to operate autonomously and safely in the presence of manned maritime traffic in all weather conditions, day or night.
This RFI seeks information in three areas: maritime perception sensors; maritime perception software; and classification software for day-shapes and navigation lights.
Responses should include size, weight, power information; exemplar maritime imagery; technical data on imaging performance; and information on system reliability. Responses also should include a description of each data interface (digital or analog) to include data rate, mechanical interface, imagery format, and available image refresh rate.
Responses for software should include strengths and limitations for operating in the maritime environment, theoretical or empirically derived receiver-operator characteristic curves, and description of data requirements for training.
More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/ODA/DARPA/CMO/DARPA-SN-15-27/listing.html.