WESTBOROUGH, Mass., 11 April 2008. The U.S. Navy will test an advanced 360-degree camera system at sea that is designed to enhance situational awareness for submarines with Type 18 periscopes, used on all Seawolf- and Los Angeles-class fast attack submarines.
The 360-degree camera is from RemoteReality Corp. in Westborough, Mass. Instead of the traditional submarine surface-viewing operation that takes several minutes to complete a 360-degree scan of surrounding waters, the RemoteReality camera system gives an instant omni-directional view.
"The camera system, which combines hardware and a software interface, provides submarine operators with a critical 'quick look' capability," says Dennis McGinn, chief executive officer of RemoteReality. "It captures in an instant a full 360-degree view of activity on the surface, through the use of a high-resolution visible-light omni camera and an uncooled thermal infrared omni camera for nighttime use."
The camera provides six times high definition at 12 megapixels, and its nighttime thermal viewer has a resolution of 640 by 480 pixels. "Having this quick-look capability will greatly improve situational awareness and add another layer of safety, especially for submarines in littoral waters," says McGinn, a retired Navy vice admiral who once commanded The Third Fleet in the Pacific.
"As coastal waters and critical maritime straits and choke points become more crowded, the ability to get an instant view of the horizon with a quick periscope look provides a real safety margin and tactical advantage to our submarine fleet," McGinn says. "The importance of sea lines of communication cannot be overstated."
RemoteReality engineers developed the 360-degree camera under a contract awarded last year from Office of Naval Research (ONR),
The Type 18 periscope is undergoing upgrades for a video package known as submarine imaging subsystem (SUBIS), a set of analog video and digital still cameras that record the view from the periscope and provide image enhancement software for image analysis. For more information contact RemoteReality online at www.remotereality.com.