Articles

Minimizing Latency Can Enhance Situational Awareness In Tactical Ground Vehicles

October 20, 2021

Published in Military Embedded Systems
Written by Peter Green and Richard Pollard

Through-armor video systems provide in-vehicle crews of manned and remote crews of unmanned ground vehicles with critical visibility and situational awareness. This vital visual information needs to be accessible as close to real-time as possible. Delayed video images can make warfighters unaware of an approaching enemy, an impending man-made or natural obstacle, or the unsafe proximity of a warfighter or civilian outside the vehicle, until it’s too late to appropriately or adequately respond. These risks increase when vehicles are moving quickly and when they include large and dangerous moving parts. It doesn’t take much imagination to consider the kinds of negative incidents that could occur when video images are delayed.

Through-armor video systems provide in-vehicle crews of manned and remote crews of unmanned ground vehicles with critical visibility and situational awareness. This vital visual information needs to be accessible as close to real-time as possible. Delayed video images can make warfighters unaware of an approaching enemy, an impending man-made or natural obstacle, or the unsafe proximity of a warfighter or civilian outside the vehicle, until it’s too late to appropriately or adequately respond. These risks increase when vehicles are moving quickly and when they include large and dangerous moving parts. It doesn’t take much imagination to consider the kinds of negative incidents that could occur when video images are delayed.

Video latency can also cause motion sickness for those inside the vehicle. When the images on the display don’t match the motion felt in the vehicle, the discrepancy can create inner-ear disturbances that lead to nausea, dizziness, and vomiting.

While the risks to human safety are significantly less when unmanned ground vehicles are used, the remote location of the vehicle driver means the video stream must travel further before it can be acted upon. This distance naturally increases the latency, compounding the dangers associated with delayed video streams. Video latency makes it extremely difficult for operators to have complete confidence that what they are seeing is the reality at the time. The combination of uncertainty and delayed images can cause hesitancy when responding to threats, collisions with obstructions or humans, or unknowingly driving the vehicle into a dangerous situation or landscape.

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