Our target customers are institutions with maritime security or safety concerns. The best example in Europe is Frontex: The Mediterranean borders are seeing a rising number of fatalities (3930 dead or missing for the year to 28 October 2016).
UNHCR estimated over 327,800 people had made the Mediterranean crossing in the first 10 months of 2016 alone. The EU Frontex agency need to monitor this huge area under clouds with good resolution and the ability to respond quickly. Low level unmanned aircraft or unmanned boats or even manned boats augmented with our HyRIZON intelligent payloads will greatly assist Frontex and organisations with a similar maritime remit.
We will do this by using a detection system that provides unprecedented capability to find objects in 41 spectral bands with extremely low size, weight and power (SWAP). This allows HyRIZON to be mounted in long endurance systems, exactly as intended. Continuously calibrated by an integrated spectrometer and loaded with the latest machine vision algorithms, HyRIZON provides reliable, high accuracy detections in varying conditions and long durations on the sort of platforms that can patrol our oceans, with low bandwidth satellite data links.
It is virtually impossible to hide from automated hyperspectral scanning; even camouflaged targets will show a high contrast band somewhere in the spectrum. Our algorithms take advantage of this to detect hidden objects whilst reducing the data presented to a human analyst. Our sensor payloads use the latest interferometry-based printed spectral filters to reduce mass and size, along with advanced embedded intelligence to automatically detect and discriminate objects or patterns of interest.
Having worked in this area for over a decade (including commercial and governmental customers), we have seen significant demand for lower cost systems for a different subset of missions. Whichever altitude and size, long endurance aircraft run a constant energy balance. They cannot afford to carry large, heavy payloads. For missions that involve remote operation over long distances, the payload has to include some decision ability. It has to include AI, or the platforms cannot perform their missions and people will keep dying.
HyRIZON is specifically designed to mitigate against the need for a high data rate link – the intelligence is on board. If the aircraft has not passed any targets of interest, it will simply send the regular status message to confirm location, health and adherence to the commanded plan. It is only when a potential detection occurs that the aircraft will send images.