A Novel Sensor Fusion Architecture Providing Interoperability Between Heterogeneous Commercial Sensing Technologies

Given that one current and predicted future military area of operations are expected to be within complex, diverse theatres of operations such as chaotic urban environments, poses a significant systems design challenge. Coupled with this is the increasing complexity within military vetronics software/hardware design and integration prompting a significant change in the design and development of systems that provide crews of Mounted Close Combat (MCC) their local situational awareness.

Additionally, over the past 10 years significant advances within the automotive sector regarding sensing technologies and autonomous systems has increased exponentially. Driven by enormous investment from the commercial/private automotive Tier 1 and 2 suppliers, with recent years seeing many government sponsored, technology accelerator programs. The results of this enormous global investment have produced advanced autonomous navigational capabilities within commercial vehicles. Predicated by robust situational and context awareness utilising an array of heterogeneous sensing technologies, deep learning algorithms and techniques coupled with high powered computational abilities. It could be said modern fully autonomous vehicle not only ‘know’ (situational awareness) their environment in high detail but also understand the context of their current and near future (prediction) environment.

Project aims

The aim of this research is to provide an architecture presenting a novel solution for taking advantage of (integration) these rapid automotive advancements within current and future Mounted Close Combat (MCC) to provide crews of military land systems with cost effective enhanced situational awareness (Generic Sensor Fusion Architecture). Specifically, to enhance situational awareness for crews of Mounted Close Combat through a generic sensor fusion architecture approach providing a cost-effective integration solution for current and future sensing technologies harmonised with the DefStan 23-009 Generic Vehicle Architecture (GVA) environment. Thereby increasing crew, civilian, platform and mission survivability and safety.

Project findings and impact

This research has identified that commercial technologies demonstrate clear benefits in addressing the safety and situational awareness challenges that often confront Mounted Close Combat (MCC) vehicles in complex urban environments. Additionally, solutions have been developed to harmonise automotive COTS sensing technologies with the Generic Vehicle Architecture environment. Results are currently being collected for publication.