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Sharpening the blur in remote imaging

The video quality of remote imaging used for monitoring and surveillance purposes is usually poor. An EU-funded project is coming up with creative and novel video compression techniques that enhance the definition without demanding greater space.

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), terrestrial-based sensor networks and other remote-sensing technologies are increasingly used for civilian and military surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence gathering. These systems have benefited from advances in communications and computing technology, which have lowered costs and boosted capabilities.

But technological progress does not stand still, and an EU-funded project is striving to take remote-sensing technology to the next level. The 'Compressed sensing for remote imaging in aerial and terrestrial surveillance' (CS-ORION) project is striving to overcome the limitations imposed by current video coding methods used by remote-sensing devices. Currently, these only offer the user low-quality streaming video.

The project is developing compressive sensing (CS) architectures that will provide high-quality video acquisition and delivery capabilities of remote-sensing devices for both aerial and terrestrial surveillance.

CS-ORION has designed a video compression technique able to overcome the limitations of mpeg and mjpeg compression. It combines a simplified encoding process with a refinement phase based on inter-frame prediction. The project has also developed and implemented a novel approach to video classification that directly exploits the properties of linear random projections in the framework of CS.

In addition, CS-ORION has created an active range imaging system that can reconstruct high-quality depth from significantly fewer frames. The project has also experimented with high-dynamic range imaging, which dramatically reduces the number of images required. Moreover, CS-ORION has used CS to perform accurate localisation based on signal strength measurements.

Once completed in the summer of 2014, CS-ORION will help advance the application of video imaging in transport, security and environmental monitoring.

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