A new computer vision-based system has been designed by a US Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Atlantic team.

The new Second Sight system is equipped with a semi-autonomous ‘quadcopter’ drone to provide the soldier with a 360° situational awareness without having to repivot.

The drone has a camera and is designed to follow the soldier to provide a clear view of the surroundings, including over hills and building tops.

Soldiers can control the drone by wearing a thermal tag and using a tablet.

NIWC Atlantic acting executive director and former marine Peter Reddy said: “NIWC Atlantic scientists and engineers are actively pursuing drone capabilities to help marines keep the advantage on the battlefield while meeting the challenges of the future operating environment.

“Second Sight is the kind of information and communications capability that enhances and further empowers the Marine Rifle Squad and other small units, as called for in the 38th Commandant’s Planning Guidance.”

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By GlobalData

The new device will eliminate the need for a marine controller to operate the drone in the field.

Second Sight was developed by a team comprising of electrical engineer Joshua deMedici, computer engineer Elexander Fryer, computer scientists James Prince and Eduardo Abreu-Hidalgo, and Machine Learning Specialist Yevgeniy Sher.

Prince said: “The system itself costs about $1,000, but it can help warfighters understand the combat situation and make sound decisions more quickly.”

In July, DeMedici, Prince and Fryer showcased the functions of the system at the Advanced Naval Technology Exercise (ANTX) East held at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.