Software on Smartphones to Help Military Track Moving Objects on the Battlefield
According to today's announcement by the University of Missouri, a research team from the MU College of Engineering, headed by doctoral student Qia Wang has developed new software that can determine "the exact location of distant objects as well as monitor the speed and direction of moving objects."
The PositionitSystem works by tracking targets that are single-image, two-image or video-based. For example, in the video workflow illustrated here, the target is placed in a bounding box on the first frame of the video and it's movement is tracked across all video frames. Using the camera's GPS location and applying filtering developed by the team, the remote target's position, velocity, trajectory and speed is calculated.
According to researchers on the project, this "smartphone app can track objects on the battlefield as well as on the sports field." Imagine soldiers being able to track their enemies prior to air strikes, police nabbing speeders, wildlife researchers using it to keep records of migrating animals and golfers measuring the arch and speed of that little white ball.
“The great advantage of a smartphone is that it provides so many tools in a single, readily available, relatively inexpensive package,” said Qia Wang. “For example, on the battlefield, a soldier needs a rangefinder, compass, GPS and other tools to do reconnaissance before calling in an air strike. With our software, the soldier can have all those instruments in one device that can be purchased off the shelf."
Before you get too excited, however, the team pointed out during its presentation to the recent SPIE Geospatial InfoFusion II Conference that its targeting and tracking software is not yet available commercially. A prototype is currently being tested and we'll be waiting for further updates.