Posted by Duncan Young,

Signal Processing Techniques

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Multispectral electro-optical sensing plays a pivotal role in the detection of threats and movements of insurgents, terrorists, and other destabilizing forces operating with limited technology capability. Video is gathered from surveillance platforms, such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), helicopters, or ground vehicles, which must then be analyzed and disseminated throughout the battlefield command structure as quickly as possible. Ethernet is the medium of choice for streaming video, but with its potentially limited bandwidth, real-time video compression is essential for the new breed of high-definition sensors or where many channels of video are to be carried.

Communications Surveillance platforms carry diverse types of sensor such as HDTV, regular TV, infrared, low light, and custom. Payloads also vary as each sensor platform does not have the space, endurance, electrical power, or cooling to support all sensors concurrently. Whichever kind of platform is deployed, wireless data links convey images to where they are needed for each specific mission. Typically, mobile sensor platforms will use either SATCOMs or digital data links to stream video. SATCOM is most often supported by large air and ground vehicles, whereas smaller platforms rely on air-to-ground digital radio channels with limited bandwidth.[Continue reading →]

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Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are vital elements in the gathering of Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) data. UAVs carry a payload of electro-optical sensors plus lasers, radar, or signals intelligence. These sensors generate masses of data that are transmitted securely to the ground over limited-capacity data links. Assistance is needed on the ground to identify and classify targets so that the UAV can direct its sensors and alter its flight profile to track targets of interest. UAVs are in constant use and continuously evolving to detect and counter new threats. Operators and integrators are urgently seeking greater, proven capability, which is being provided by COTS products and related enabling technologies.

UAV requirements A surveillance UAV is essentially an unmanned sensor platform with well developed autonomous flight control allowing it to take off, follow flight plans, avoid obstacles, and land, but with limited mission autonomy. Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) parameters can be so critical that COTS embedded computing standards might not be prime choice for the payload/sensor processing chain. However, because of the rapid design cycles needed to maintain tactical superiority, the infusion of proven and deployable enabling technologies – specifically COTS based – has become an essential development practice.[Continue reading →]

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Signal Processing Applications

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Advanced sensor processing continues to demand greater performance and increased frame rates, while consuming less of a vehicle’s Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) budget. The FPGA, and, more recently, the General Purpose Graphics Processor Unit (GPGPU) have been adopted for the highly parallel, repetitive front-end processing of raw sensor data. Both these device types use large arrays of simplified execution cores to continually process incoming sensor data streams. This many-core approach to enhanced processor performance is growing rapidly as new devices, such as Tilera’s TILEPro64, become available. Driven by similarly data-intensive applications such as video transcoding, encryption, and deep packet inspection, the many-core tile offers another step up in performance for new sensor systems.

Transistor count[Continue reading →]

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An insatiable demand for more performance continues to drive technology and market growth in all forms of image and video processing for simulation, visualization, gaming, modeling, manufacturing, and medical applications. Military and security applications, typified by urban and guerrilla warfare, require higher resolutions, better image enhancement, and faster threat analysis and results dissemination, specifically from ground-based and airborne electro-optical sensor systems. In addition, there is a demand for continuous performance growth for military sensor systems such as radar, sonar, all forms of signals intelligence, software radio, and multisensor fusion. These applications all require optimal floating-point processing capability, often packaged to meet the most demanding Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) criteria.

Integrated vector processor[Continue reading →]

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Multicore packet processor devices have found widespread use in commercial information processing and networking applications such as file servers, secure gateways, protocol offload engines, and so on. They are equally applicable to wider DoD and international defense infrastructure projects, but also offer great scope for innovation within deeply embedded military systems. Packet processors with typically 8 to 16 industry standard, general-purpose cores based on either Power Architecture or MIPS64 (Cavium Networks) can run multiple independent or cooperative tasks on a single device. While many network-oriented applications are available off-the-shelf, the wealth of tools and environments for these well established processing cores facilitates additional task development and integration for each new project requirement.

Typical file server application[Continue reading →]

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OpenCL and CUDA offer unprecedented levels of performance for the repetitive, parallel processing tasks found in advanced sensor systems. Importantly, these are software-based technologies, making them easier to develop, maintain, and port from one GPU to future generations. Looking ahead for rapid evolution, the next generations of GPU have already been announced.[Continue reading →]

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By using the latest generation of low-power, mixed media processing devices developed for the 3G smartphone market, an embedded tracker can be optimized for both performance and a platform’s vital Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) characteristics.[Continue reading →]

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Sensors of all types are the eyes, ears, nose, and antennae of the military commander whether they are integrated into a main battle tank, a submarine, a helicopter, or a tactical aircraft. Sensors can be active (laser range-finder, radar, and sonar), ...[Continue reading →]

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High-performance Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) have evolved from fixed-function graphics execution units to SIMD processors. Now, the key to implementing GPU processing lies in a new generation of tools including CUDA, OpenCL, and more to integrate code development across heterogenous CPU/GPU architectures.[Continue reading →]

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Network attached data acquisition is providing freedom from direct attachment of sensors to signal processing – and creating opportunities to configure systems that are easier to integrate and offer better performance as well as processor/form factor independence.[Continue reading →]

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Signal Processing Types

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An insatiable demand for more performance continues to drive technology and market growth in all forms of image and video processing for simulation, visualization, gaming, modeling, manufacturing, and medical applications. Military and security applications, typified by urban and guerrilla warfare, require higher resolutions, better image enhancement, and faster threat analysis and results dissemination, specifically from ground-based and airborne electro-optical sensor systems. In addition, there is a demand for continuous performance growth for military sensor systems such as radar, sonar, all forms of signals intelligence, software radio, and multisensor fusion. These applications all require optimal floating-point processing capability, often packaged to meet the most demanding Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) criteria.

Integrated vector processor[Continue reading →]

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Though DSP libraries abound for AltiVec-based applications, new architectures require new potential hosts for DSP applications. Thus, new libraries providing advanced portability are integral to the equation.[Continue reading →]

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Modern platforms hosting DSP apps are more complex, providing FPGA front ends and multicompute engines for DSP, along with general purpose processors to execute back-end interfacing to data processing systems and displays. At the same time, the tools needed to model, program, debug, and visualize these systems have grown in complexity, and now support a wide variety of hardware configurations and architectures.[Continue reading →]

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AltiVec PowerPCs have enjoyed dominance in high-end military signal processing applications such as Software-Defined Radio (SDR) and video/image compression. But FPGAs, with their inherent parallelism and reprogrammability, are fast becoming prevalent ...[Continue reading →]

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