ARLINGTON, Va., 29 Aug. 2010.Video analysis experts at the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va., are asking Kitware Inc. in Clifton Park, N.Y., to develop software tools that will help make radical improvements to the analysis of huge volumes of overhead video data gathered from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), manned aircraft, and other video surveillance platforms.
DARPA awarded an $11 million contract to Kitware Friday for the Video and Image Retrieval and Analysis Tool (VIRAT) program, which seeks to produce a scalable and extensible end-to-end system to enable military video analysts to get the most value possible from aerial video collected during combat operations. Kitware should complete the work by February 2012.
Kitware's research will focus on developing technology that capitalizes on activities recorded over space and time on overhead narrow-field-of-view video to create two capabilities: first, to establish alerts that query a real-time video stream continuously and cue analysts to dangers or opportunities in real-time; and second, to put an entire petabyte-scale video archive at the fingertips of military analysts to enable them to retrieve video content rapidly to support operational planning, forensic analysis, and damage assessment.
Kitware's VIRAT research focuses on efficient indexing of large video archives and fast retrieval precision by interactive queries to enable video analysts to find pertinent video content rapidly from archives and to provide alerts to the analyst of events of interest during live operations.
Among the goals of VIRAT is to develop tools that overcome nuisance factors that occur in overhead aerial combat video, such as variations in illumination, range, and viewpoint. Today, video analysis for the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle and other aerial video surveillance platforms is very labor intensive, and limited to metadata queries, manual annotations, and fast-forward examination of clips.