Sentient, of Melbourne, Australia, has launched a new maritime version of its Kestrel software, which locates and tracks people, objects or vehicles by analyzing real-time video feeds, spotting and tracking targets that are difficult for humans to detect.

The company's Kestrel Land MTI (moving target indicator) software has been used by the Australian air force aboard manned AP-3C Orion aircraft and has also been flown on a variety of unmanned aircraft. Sentient's maritime version of Kestrel is able to spot small targets - boats, windsurfers, swimmers, submarine periscopes - through scattered clouds, in high sea states, ignoring whitecaps and sun glare.

The environment is so different that while Kestrel Maritime looks and feels the same as Kestrel Land MTI, they are completely different systems, said Paul Boxer, Sentient's managing director.

Maintaining steady, high-bandwidth communication with the ground can be difficult in a maritime environment, so Kestrel is designed to make intelligent use of low-bandwidth transmission systems.

"With Kestrel, what it enables you to do is use multiple SUAS-style UAVs operating over the horizon remotely," says Sentient's Simon Olsen. "When a detection is made, the operator will see that, they will get a little red box. All the imagery the UAV sees is stored on board, the operator can then request a JPEG image to be sent via the Iridium satellite communications network." If a ship is spotted, for instance, the operator can request an image to determine what it is, and that should arrive within about 30 seconds.

Source: Flight Daily News