Sentient Vision Systems Business Development Director to: «ALJJUNDI» We chose UAE As world launchapad for ViDAR SCAR Pod & base for sensor integration

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Sentient Vision Systems‭, ‬an Australian innovator and specialist in vision systems‭, ‬recognized as the inventor of the world’s first optical radar‭, ‬is collaborating with Austrian-based Airborne Technologies and UAE-British Phoenix Aerospace‭, ‬which specializes in integrating Aircraft‭, ‬to establish a center of excellence in the Middle East for the integration of sensors‭, ‬in conjunction‭ ‬with the launch of the AW-139‭ ‬ViDAR SCAR‭ (‬Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance‭) ‬Pod system in the UAE market‭.‬

This tripartite initiative was launched during the Dubai Airshow 2021‭ ‬last November‭. ‬Al-Jundi Journal met with Mr‭. ‬Richard Glyn‭-‬Jones‭, ‬Sentient Vision Systems‭’ ‬Business Development Director in Europe‭, ‬Middle East and North Africa region‭, ‬and discussed with‭ ‬him the company’s fields of work‭, ‬its participation in The Dubai Airshow‭, ‬its new alliance and its latest products‭.. ‬Below is the text of the interview‭:‬

Can we have an idea about your company‭, ‬please‭?‬

Sentient Vision is a leading developer of Computer and Artificial Intelligence software solutions for defence and civilian projects‭. ‬Since 1999‭ ‬the company has specialised in imagery analysis‭, ‬building practical solutions that automatically detect and tracking small moving objects over land or small objects on the surface of the ocean‭. ‬Actively used in the field of Intelligence‭, ‬Surveillance and Reconnaissance‭ (‬ISR‭), ‬the solutions enhance situational awareness and support strategic decisions‭.‬

The aim of participating in Dubai Airshow‭?‬

International events are important to us‭, ‬and Dubai Airshow is an opportunity to not just showcase our solutions‭, ‬but also importantly to meet with old and new customers and contacts‭. ‬The wide spread of organisations and sectors represented‭, ‬civilian‭, ‬military‭, ‬manned and unmanned‭, ‬makes this an important event‭. ‬Our prime objective was to introduce the AW-139‭ ‬ViDAR SCAR‭ (‬Self Contained Aerial Reconnaissance‭) ‬Pod to the UAE and Middle East market‭.‬

The aim of your alliance with two other companies‭, ‬Phoenix and Airborne Technologies‭? ‬What capabilities will add to your company‭?‬

Sentient and Airborne Technologies have a long productive relationship providing airborne surveillance solutions and together with Phoenix Aerospace we have a winning combination playing to our respective strengths‭. ‬We are very pleased to be working with both companies on this compelling ViDAR development‭. ‬This collaboration will provide a fully certified‭, ‬integrated ViDAR Optical‭ ‬Radar capability for maritime search and surveillance operations for our key customers‭. ‬Airborne Technologies‭, ‬being an EASA Design‭, ‬Production‭ & ‬Maintenance Organisation uses its engineering and testing capability to conduct integration trials and Phoenix‭ ‬Aerospace will provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region and demonstrate the system to potential‭ ‬customers‭. ‬Sentient Vision Systems’‭ ‬own Field Integration Teams will continue to help customers with ViDAR SCAR-Pod integration and operator training‭.‬

What are the capabilities of the ViDAR SCAR Pod you are going to launch and what is peculiar about it compared with other similar systems‭?‬

The pods will carry the full ViDAR suite of ultra-high resolution day and night capable cameras as well as image processing hardware‭, ‬providing a fully integrated system‭. ‬The ViDAR SCAR-Pod is easily installed to the airframe‭, ‬providing a highly efficient‭ ‬autonomous search capability that is able to detect targets that radars cannot find‭. ‬Sentient and Airborne Technologies’‭ ‬AW-139‭ ‬Day/Night ViDAR SCAR Pod‭, ‬provides round the clock search capabilities‭, ‬with real time autonomous detection of SAR targets‭. ‬

The ViDAR Artificial Intelligence‭ (‬AI‭) ‬and Computer Vision software scans the 180-degree electro optic and/or infra-red sensor’s imagery feed to detect targets invisible to a human operator‭. ‬It then places a thumbnail image on the operator’s screen showing the bearing and range of the target‭, ‬allowing for an automated cross-cue by the inspection turret‭. ‬When searching small objects such as a life raft or a person in the water‭, ‬ViDAR has up to 300‭ ‬times greater search coverage than an aircraft without ViDAR meaning more lives saved and lower mission costs‭.‬

Why did you choose Dubai Airshow to launch you ViDAR SCAR Pod and launch a Middle East centre of excellence for sensor integration in the UAE‭?‬

Our collaboration with Airborne Technologies and Phoeoinix Aerospace had been developed over the last 6‭ ‬months‭, ‬and the timing was perfect to announce this capability‭. ‬Phoenix Aerospace‭, ‬with a logistics footprint and presence in the UAE will provide installation and on-the-ground support in the Middle East region‭.  ‬Our intention is to develop this regional centre of excellence for‭ ‬sensor integration‭, ‬based out of the UAE‭.‬

What are the most prominent challenges facing the ISR systems today‭, ‬and how the VIDAR system will help to overcome them‭? ‬

ISR‭ (‬Intelligence‭, ‬Surveillance and Reconnaissance‭); ‬demands real time or near real time data to allow accurate information and‭ ‬fast decision making‭. ‬It could include battle space management‭, ‬tactical deployment of assets‭, ‬interdiction‭, ‬and safety of life‭ ‬at sea‭. ‬All demand robust systems that are able to operate in harsh environments‭. ‬That is where our ViDAR pods are able to make‭ ‬the difference‭. ‬

How do you assess your relations and cooperation with the UAE‭, ‬its military‭, ‬industry and its armed forces‭? 

We are privileged to not only have excellent relations with the range of UAE defence and civilian agencies but also have our Kestrel software already operational with a number of customers in the region‭. ‬Our ability to provide on the ground logistics‭, ‬integration and customer support in the UAE and wider Middle East is built on our strong relationships with the concerned authorities‭, ‬and individuals and senior and operational levels‭. ‬

The Arabian Gulf market is witnessing great competition between defence companies‭, ‬what makes your products attractive to customers‭?‬

We have over 3,000‭ [‬Kestrel‭] ‬systems deployed‭. ‬With a proven track record in the UAE where it is widely used on the fleet of Sikorsky UH-60‭ ‬Black Hawks for military or law enforcement‭. ‬Kestrel is compatible with any platform with a FLIR or Wescam-type turret‭. ‬

What are your most important projects in the next phase‭?‬

We operate an Agile development programme to constantly upgrade and improve our software and hardware solutions‭. ‬We are working‭ ‬on bringing ViDAR down to operate at surface levels as well as enhance the capability of the system to further reduce operator workload‭.‬

Do you expect to negotiate any deals with any party during the Show‭? ‬

We are actively developing interest from a number of potential Middle Eastern customers in our ViDAR SCAR-equipped AW139‭ ‬for search and rescue operations by day or at night‭.‬

What’s your impression of this edition of Dubai Airshow‭?‬

This was the first event for almost two years‭, ‬and it surpassed all our expectations‭, ‬both in terms of quality of visitors and quantity‭. ‬Our stand was busy during the entire show‭, ‬without any opportunity to break‭, ‬from planned meetings and‭ ‬‘walk-ons’‭. ‬We were visited by UAE and other military and Government delegations‭. ‬The support of the Australian Government has also been a‭ ‬considerable help in spotlighting our solutions here in the UAE and wider region‭.‬

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