By John Keller
WASHINGTON, 2 Oct. 2008. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate in Washington is asking industry for information on potential computer and software solutions to help unattended ground sensors (UGS) determine the difference between humans and animals during security operations along the U.S. borders.
Unattended sensors placed along the nation's borders use seismic, non-imaging passive infrared, acoustic, or magnetic sensor technology, which can detect people trying to sneak across the borders on foot. The problem is these sensors also can give false alarms when they detect animals like deer, moose, and cattle.
DHS experts say the believe that giving unattended sensors the ability to discern between humans and animals may involve software that would work with existing UGS sensors, hardware additions that would make existing sensors more capable, or sensors altogether.
DHS officials are asking industry for any information on how to modify existing unattended sensors such that these improvements do not add substantially to the costs of existing equipment. Adding an expensive infrared camera, for example, would not be an acceptable solution.
If companies have ideas on how to do this, they should let DHS officials know. Interested companies should describe their ideas on how to improve unattended border sensors, and specify where they would use equipment or software, where modifications are necessary, and where newly developed technology might be involved.
Companies submitting information also should specify the performance they expect from their proposed modifications, theoretical test results, any weather or terrain conditions that could limit their proposed solution, and how much their modifications would cost.
Those responding to this Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Human versus Animal Classification request for information (solicitation number DHARFI091608) should keep in mind that most unattended sensors the DHS operates along U.S. borders have sensors to detect targets of interest, communications for reporting detected targets, power subsystems, and control capability.
These kinds of unattended sensors must be easily hidden, consume little power, and operate for a long time. DHS officials want 90 percent reliability in discerning between humans and animals, and want to detect humans as far away from the sensors as 80 feet.
DHS officials say solutions proposed from industry may involve signal-processing used with existing sensors; data fusion that may use information from several sensors in the same area, or several sensor types used in one unattended ground sensor system; and modifications to existing seismic infrared, and acoustic sensors.
Companies that want to submit information should not waste any time. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. eastern time on 11 Oct. To make comments or ask questions, contact the DHS's Renee Bayton by phone at 202-254-5387, or by e-mail at [email protected].
More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=b99239f3ee2ff22f29f648819421ed03&tab=core&_cview=1&cck=1&au=&ck=.