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News & Events

RFEL exhibits TRAILBLAZER at DSEI 2017

22nd August 2017

TRAILBLAZER™ improves driver and crew effectiveness by extending the field of view beyond the normal spectrum, even in adverse weather and low-light conditions. It offers a new, best-in-class driver camera sub-system for military vehicle system integrators tasked with delivering to the most demanding specifications within tight timescales and budgets.

Navigating an unfamiliar terrain safely, in a degraded visual environment, is a common challenge in the modern battlefield.  When the field of view is limited and threats are unknown, total command of the road ahead and complete situational awareness are essential for success.  Where primary vision is restricted, such as in armoured vehicles operating with hatches down, TRAILBLAZER’s dual-channel daylight and infrared video sensors, along with RFEL’s sophisticated image processing technology, can give the driver, crew and commander views from ahead and behind, in all weathers, day or night.

Since announcing the development of this highly featured, exciting product at DVD 2016, the UK MOD’s own vehicle industry event, RFEL has worked with early adopter customers to manufacture a first-of-class TRAILBLAZER for in-service platforms. This will be exhibited at DSEI with live technology demonstrations and RFEL engineering experts on the stand to discuss the product capabilities and benefits.

The TRAILBLAZER roadmap has also been updated.  A range of customers are driving the delivery of two variants to the specification announced at DVD.  The first is a specification optimised to the driving field of view and the second will support conventional analogue interfaces making TRAILBLAZER a drop-in integration for legacy connectivity platforms, or for those new platforms that have mandated an analogue infrastructure for other system reasons.

Over 2016/17, industry engagement events with stakeholders, such as government requirements managers, platform owners and operators, vehicle system primes and system integrators, have validated the RFEL TRAILBLAZER product approach. The RFEL philosophy of delivering the lowest latency, the highest available resolution and leveraging a comprehensive digital enhancement library delivered at the sensor, has struck a chord with all audiences. This is largely due to the commitment RFEL has made to realise this under the flexible and open architecture design approach mandated by the UK-GVA standard.  Following that design model has created a product that is compatible not only with GVA, but also with the closely related NATO-GVA STANAG 4754 work and in fact with other proprietary networked Electronic Architectures.

TRAILBLAZER’s features include a dual channel daylight/thermal sensor package, RFEL’s Video Fusion algorithm, wide and driving field of view options, multiple and independent channel outputs on both the network interface and a complementary, native digital video HD-SDI output.  This means that a wide variety of flexible integration topologies can be supported. Visitors to DSEI can explore these interactively with RFEL representatives.

TRAILBLAZER incorporates RFEL’s multi-resolution, advanced Digital Video Fusion technique, which is superior to common blending, averaging and overlay approaches typically taken to make use of thermal scene data within an otherwise obscured, daylight field of view.  It has recently been reviewed by UK governmental research audiences, working in the field of situation awareness, who were impressed with its utility.  RFEL’s algorithm intelligently generates a composite output video stream on a pixel-by-pixel basis. This means no loss of higher resolution features from any one sensor, no reduction in colour content due to bland and uniform thermal regions and a truly intuitive augmented view of the widest spectrum of scenery data. This is further enhanced by pre-processing techniques such as contrast enhancement and, optionally, high frequency Digital Stabilisation and/or customisable pseudo-colour highlighting.


RFEL’s digital video fusion in action

Wayne Cranwell, RFEL’s Video Processing Business Development lead, concluded, “TRAILBLAZER sets a new standard for vehicle vision enhancement.  It meets the exacting standards of military usage where it can mean the difference between life and death for the soldiers whose lives depend on the best possible, real time situational awareness and manoeuvre capability.  Additionally, its use is not restricted to just military applications: We can provide TRAILBLAZER to companies addressing commercial applications in security, maritime situation awareness, platform autonomy and robotics, and for industrial systems.”

RFEL will be exhibiting TRAILBLAZER at DSEI exhibition, Stand S4-150, from 11th to 14th September at ExCEL, London, UK