Can you see in the dark?

The Smith Institute helped Selex ES to evaluate the design integrity of their Enhanced Vision System VigilX.

The Problem

Selex ES have provided night vision systems for military aircraft since the 1970’s and VigilX is their latest development in airborne Enhanced Vision Systems. VigilX is a modular, scalable, multi-user infrared EVS which has been developed initially as an advisory system to aid aircrew situational awareness in zero light. The VigilX system has been successfully demonstrated through a flight trials programme.

Whilst VigilX as an advisory system satisfies a large proportion of the customer base, other elements have indicated a desire to increase the dependency on the VigilX systems to ‘flight safety involved’ and even flight safety critical - i.e. as a primary flying aid. Selex ES is currently developing VigilX to higher design integrity standard.

The VigilX imaging system projects video from multiple cameras onto a single display in real time, in both calibration and run-time phases.

In each of these phases sophisticated mathematical algorithms underpin the image capture, image processing and image output. Drawing on the methods of projective geometry, these algorithms are used to meet tight overall performance requirements. In particular, at subsystem level, mathematical algorithms are used for camera and display calibration, camera alignment, camera selection, image warping and stitching (including coordinate transformation and distortion correction), display pointing, camera matching, display level setting and verification of camera calibration. As part of the development of the higher integrity system, the integrity of the mathematical basis of the processing algorithms required reviewing in order to meet certification standards.

The solution

The Smith Institute provided an independent study of the mathematical algorithms for image capture and processing on an aerospace subsystem, VigilX, to Selex ES.

Given a pre-production system design, we were asked to independently model it in order to provide an independent review of the mathematical algorithms that underpin its processes. We found Selex ES to be using widely studied, necessary and apt methods, and to be extracting information of high accuracy from images. We evaluated the suitability of the algorithms for implementation in software, and highlighted opportunities to advance the methods and also to perform internal consistency checks.

The benefits

Our findings have provided independent support to Selex ES in their evaluation of the design integrity of the VigilX system against certification standards.

The Smith Institute has provided a comprehensive analysis of the mathematics and algorithms of our system and processes. This has given us independent corroboration of our approach and has allowed us to proceed with confidence as we develop the system for production to the required certification standards.

— Steve BennettHead of Capability, Airborne EO and Naval at Selex ES