The Problem:

Aircraft can often be left unattended on the tarmac or parked near a hangar, as well as in a hangar with minimal security. During that time, the aircraft is vulnerable to intrusion, sabotage, or stowaway attempts. A low-cost, self-contained, easily deployed security system which could monitor the entire area around a parked aircraft would be of great use in increasing aircraft security and safety. Similar problems are seen in other areas, such as tandem-trailer lots for commercial vehicles, in which trailers may be left unattended for hours.

IEM’s Wise Solution

Leveraging work for New York State and others in smart video and multisensor processing, IEM worked with a major aircraft manufacturer in conjunction with a NASA SBIR contract to develop an Autonomous Ground Sentinel that can monitor activity around an aircraft night and day using multiple sensor modalities. As described in the Panoramic Imaging section, IEM specifically developed the imaging component to function in all lighting and weather conditions and remain low-power and affordable. In addition, the AGS compensates for the distortion of panoramic imaging and remains able to track targets nearby or far away.

The Autonomous Ground Sentinel detects, tracks, and evaluates movements and other events near the aircraft and make decisions about what sort of events require a human being to evaluate. If human evaluation is needed the Autonomous Ground Sentinel wirelessly contacts a designated local or remote system (traffic control, airline desk, etc.). The AGS can also be integrated with aircraft sensors as well as its own.

As mentioned, AGS incorporates multiple sensors. The core device uses both imaging (visible and near-infrared) and acoustic (sound) sensing methods and combines the data in a process called multisensor fusion. The essential idea behind multisensor fusion is to combine information present in different sensing modalities to gain a greater understanding of a situation than a single modality can offer. For example, a moving target at a distance may be difficult to identify, but if a characteristic engine/motor sound is detected as tracking with the moving target, the AGS may be able to identify it as a baggage cart. AGS has provisions for multiple other sensors, including remote wireless sensors (for instance, vibration or movement sensors on the aircraft, or door open/close sensors, and so on). IEM has developed multiple sensor fusion systems over the years.