The U.S. military’s Task Force ODIN demonstrated the effectiveness of combining the video inputs from networked drones, aircraft and helicopters. When a roadside bomb went off, the team could wind back the video to see who planted it — and where they went. ODIN allegedly assisted in the takedown of thousands of insurgents in Iraq; their counterparts are starting work in Afghanistan.
The process of handling, archiving and then searching through a large number of video feeds is a challenging one. That’s one of the reasons why something like YouTube can be so helpful: Instead of having to search through a pile of videotapes, you can just type in a few keywords. Even better, you can search all your friends’ video collections and they can search yours. And this is where a system like adLib produced by EchoStorm Worldwide LLC comes in. It does the same sort of thing for the military by automatically archiving video feeds along with the associated telemetry data.
For example, suppose you want to find out what happened at point X at 8:30 yesterday. You don’t even have to know which platforms were in the area at the time.
“You can ask for video that matches a specific location using latitude and longitude or the MGRS (Military Grid Reference System) or by clicking and dragging on a map,” David Barton of EchoStorm told Danger Room. “You can even define a specific point and specify a radius to search from that point.”
Barton says that the system can take video feeds from all sorts of drones. It even works right down to the individual soldier level: FLIR Recon III binoculars have built-in video, GPS and a laser range finder which can feed straight into adLib.
The system requires some rack-mounted hardware, but once the data has been archived, it’s freely available to everyone: Like YouTube, users can access it on the internet without any special software. EchoStorm’s Multiplayer allows users to look at what’s happening right now. Looking into the past is one thing, but you might also want to look at how things are right now. It even allows for “Artillery Correction support,” so a fire support officer can redirect an barrage of shells from a video feed on his PC. Try doing that with your ninja cat videos.