Elbit Systems Skylark I-LE takes to the air north of Uppsala, Sweden, in joint trials between Elbit Systems, Imint and the Uppsala Fire Brigade.
UPPSALA, SWEDEN—Swedish software company Imint and Israeli unmanned aerial system provider Elbit Systems UAS division have field tested new software in live flights of the Elbit Skylark I-LE mini-UAS deploying Imint’s Vidview north of Uppsala, Sweden, Oct. 7-9.
Tests were carried out for emergency first response and fire fighting scenarios in conjunction with the Uppsala Fire Brigade, marking completion of a joint research and development project between Imint and Elbit Systems to improve UAS usability in civilian applications. Imint’s software improved visibility and decision-making capabilities, and the trials demonstrated ease of use for novel users.
Elbit Systems UAS division and Imint (Image Intelligence AB) have developed a robust interface between Elbit’s Ground Control Station for the Skylark mini UAS and Imint’s Vidview and Vidhance software.
The companies started a joint project under bilateral Israeli and Swedish research grants in the EUREKA! program, with Vinnova as the Swedish aiding authority. The completed field trials marked the conclusion of the project, which aimed to bring the benefits of Imint’s Vidhance software into the established user interface of the GCS used by Skylark mini UAS operators.
One goal has been to smooth user experience and add visibility capabilities.
“We believe UAS can play a more important role in civil applications in the future in addition to the wide military use,” said David Rosenzweig, director of Close-Range UAS at Elbit UAS. “We see a growing interest from the market, and this project with Imint is a response — we want to make the systems easier to use also for those with less training available.”
The Uppsala County Fire Brigade hosted the field trials using mini UAS to evaluate its utility in forest fire fighting and search-and-rescue scenarios. For example, the Fire Brigade examined how an UAS can locate the exact position of a fire in inaccessible rural areas and guide vehicles through the best route to it.
“It is always challenging for us to identify damages and the spread of fire in inaccessible areas,” said Torbjörn Mattson, head of the fire brigade response units. “Having eyes in the sky as a more integrated part of our procedures would make us more efficient.”
A full integration can now be pursued, aiming to provide Imint’s Vidhance technology as feature upgrade options. Vidhance technology gives access to real-time video processing algorithms enabling automatic local contrast optimization, pan, zoom and rotation functions, local mosaicking and ultra-stabilization. Vidhance also adds fusion of geo telemetry data. Its features add visibility and interpretability capabilities to the Skylark system.