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Video is without question a key tactical and strategic tool for warfighters. And with high-resolution cameras on one end of the signal chain, and high-resolution displays on the other, the pressure in on the video capture phase to not be a bottleneck. Fortunately the military embedded computing industry offers a range of solutions using different form factors and processing to meet the needs these applications. These range from XMC modules to complete video management systems with recording and distribution capability. Even for SWaP (size, weight and power)-constrained systems like UAVs and ground vehicles, modular solutions provide the building blocks to meet tough requirements. Video capture is also often part of sophisticated systems for battlefield analysis and situation awareness-sometimes in real time and sometimes for post-processing analysis. Because they’re not apples to apples kind of products, each were judged for their own merits for the scope of this article.

For this month’s Editor’s Pick section COTS Journal evaluated several module- and box-level video capture solutions based on three aspects: technology leadership, design innovation and market relevance. The winning product is the VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) from Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. The system provides support for all leading camera types, including HD multi-spectral cameras such as the FLIR 380 HD. The rugged COTS-based system captures, compresses, distributes, switches, outputs, records, and streams/downlinks video via Ethernet. It also supports video scaling, windowing, and quad picture-in-picture/picture-by-picture display to provide flight and mission crews viewing flexibility. Figure 1.

Figure 1 Jeff’s Pick this month is the VRD1 high definition (HD) video management system (VMS) from Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions. Enhanced now with metadata support, the rugged system captures, compresses, distributes, switches, outputs, records, and streams/downlinks video via Ethernet.

Combines Video with Metadata

What really distinguish VRD1 from other solutions are the enhanced capabilities added to support precise and accurate metadata capture. Its ability to combine precise metadata with HD video camera inputs means the VRD1 can let airborne crews know exactly when and where their video images were captured and exactly when and where their aircraft was when its cameras captured those video images. According to Curtiss-Wright, that’s very useful for airborne defense helicopters seeking adversaries, for police surveillance crews that need accurate evidence, and for Search & Rescue teams who need pinpoint location accuracy.

The comprehensive VMS functionality built into the VRD1 would normally require multiple components and/or expensive customized systems. The conduction-cooled VRD1-CC (an air-cooled variant is also planned) combines six channels of full resolution HD 30fps MPEG4 H.264 compression, video and audio recording with metadata/event markers, and Ethernet video distribution or storage to disk. Its simple, intuitive man-machine interface provides an on-board (or remote) operator with complete access to the VRD1-CC’s wide range of VMS options and functionality. It supports up to 18 video inputs in a mix of different standards, including HD-SDI, RGB and DVI. These video inputs can then be easily routed to any of the VRD1-CC’s 12 video outputs for real-time viewing or routed to the system’s real-time HD video compression subsystem for recording or distribution over a standard Ethernet network.

Curtiss-Wright Defense Solutions
Ashburn, VA
(703) 779-7800
www.curtisswrightds.com

 

…And the Runners Up:

Tyton VS1 Rugged H.264 Video Encoder from Tech Source

Tech Source’s Tyton VS1 H.264 video encoder provides a ruggedized small form factor box-level video encoding and streaming solution designed for military, aerospace and harsh environment C4ISR markets. The product features a hardware implementation of CoT (Cursor on Target) and KLV (Key Length Value) metadata insertion supported via RS-232 or Ethernet. Control of encoding settings and retrieval of Tyton health information are all performed using an API built around SNMP for simple and secure communication. Figure 2.

Figure 2 The Tyton VS1 is capable of encoding and streaming two 3G/HD/SD-SDI inputs simultaneously using the highly versatile H.264 video encoding standard (MPEG-4 Part 10).

The MIL-STD-810 and IP67 compliant Tyton VS1 is capable of encoding and streaming two 3G/HD/SD-SDI inputs simultaneously using the highly versatile H.264 video encoding standard (MPEG-4 Part 10). It also features an internal video (3G-SDI) bypass to overcome the need for an external video splitter. The low power, low latency Tyton VS1 is an operating system independent, hardware agnostic, stand-alone rugged video encoding system. A control API is available for Windows XP/7/8 and Linux users to permit feature customization and IP address setting. According to Tech Source streaming capacity and cost are key drivers in the defense and avionics markets. That drove them to include two HD-SDI inputs in the Tyton VS1. Tech Source engineers also added an internal video bypass feature eliminating the need for an external video splitter.

Tech Source
Altamonte Springs, FL.
(407) 262-7100
www.techsource.com

 

SB1102-HDVR “Eagle” from General Micro Systems

The SB1102-HDVR “Eagle” from General Micro Systems is a deployable, rugged four-channel video recorder that can capture, process and distribute to LAN multiple channels of high-definition video in real time with only one frame of latency. The system is a small form-factor rugged “video recorder/workstation processor” capable of simultaneously and in real time capturing four independent HD-SDI 1080p video channels at 60 fps, performing H.264 compression on-the-fly, storing the video to onboard removable SSD nDrives at up to 1 Terabyte each, and distributing the video streams to seven Gbit Ethernet ports. Figure 3.

Figure 3 The SB1102-HDVR is a deployable, rugged four-channel video recorder that can capture, process and distribute to LAN multiple channels of HD video in real time with only one frame of latency.

There’s virtually no latency (only one frame) between the original video sources and when they appear on the SB1102-HDVR’s Ethernet switch LAN outputs. This means head-down operators using only cameras can operate their vehicle in real time and respond to bumps or obstacles even while four channels of HD video are being encoded, recorded, or encrypted. The system’s Core i7-based CPU powers a full-featured rugged workstation computer that can handle myriad tasks including: processor-intensive application software, security encoding, running virtual machines in secure partitions, switching and distributing the real-time feeds to up to six Ethernet ports, and manipulating other system I/O on optional GMS SAM sites for frame grabbers, MIL-STD-1553, ARINC-429, CANbus, RS-232/422/485, GPS and more.

General Micro Systems
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
(909) 980-4863
www.gms4sbc.com

 

Check Out These Video Capture Products Too…

The DAQMAG2A Rugged Display Computer from Abaco Systems is a high technology readiness level (TRL 9) DO-160G qualified system that includes four video outputs in multiple video formats and video ingest capability in multiple video formats with Intel Core i7 processing. Figure 4.

Figure 4 Abaco Systems

Abaco Systems, Huntsville, AL. (866) 652-2226. www.abaco.com

Advanced Micro Peripherals’ H264ULL-ENCODER is an ultra low latency, quad channel, H.264 encoder on a single PCI/104 board. It provides a solution for capturing and compressing up to 4 analog video inputs at full size and at full frame rate to the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC (Part 10) standard. Figure 5.

Figure 5 Advanced Micro Peripherals

Advanced Micro Peripherals, New York, NY. (212) 951 7205. www.ampltd.com

The M598 from Aitech Defense Systems is a video and graphics PMC that uses the AMD Radeon E8860 (Andelaar) GPU, providing six independent graphics heads. A unified video decoder within the GPU decodes H.264, VC-1, MPEG2 and MPEG4 formats. Figure 6.

Figure 6 Aitech Defense Systems

Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (888) 248-3248. www.rugged.com

Creative Electronic Systems’ VCP-2864 is a 3U OpenVPX low latency frame grabber board for video applications requiring air-cooled or conduction-cooled equipment. It can simultaneously capture up to three HD video streams and forward them onto PCI Express. Figure 7.

Figure 7 Creative Electronic Systems’

Creative Electronic Systems, Geneva, Switzerland. +41 (0)22 884 51 00. www.ces-swap.com

The Model 4011 from Sensoray is a compact digital video recorder (DVR) designed for embedded. It records audio and video (A/V) to USB storage media in MP4 format and captures JPEG images on-the-fly without interrupting A/V recording. Figure 8.

Figure 8 Sensoray

Sensoray, Tigard, OR. (503) 684-8005. www.sensoray.com

Systel’s EB7001 is a rugged embedded video capture system designed specifically for military mission-critical applications under extreme environmental conditions. It blends a quad core i7 CPU and Quad HD-SDI/ SD-SDI/Composite or Dual 3G-SDI video capture with H.264 encoding. Figure 9.

Figure 9 Systel

Systel, Sugar Land, TX. (281) 313-3600. www.systelusa.com

WOLF Advanced Technology’s VPX3U-DUAL-FGX-TK1 has two of NVIDIA’s Tegra-K1 APUs. This 3U VPX board allows complete control of two simultaneous captured frame grabber data streams for complex analysis and processing independent of the host SBC. Figure A.

Figure A WOLF Advanced Technology

WOLF Advanced Technology, Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada. (905) 852-1163. wolfadvancedtechnology.com