Open architecture of smart sensor suites
Experiences from recent conflicts show the strong need for smart sensor suites comprising different multi-spectral imaging sensors as core elements as well as additional non-imaging sensors. Smart sensor suites should be part of a smart sensor network - A network of sensors, databases, evaluation stations and user terminals. Its goal is to optimize the use of various information sources for military operations such as situation assessment, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, target recognition and tracking. Such a smart sensor network will enable commanders to achieve higher levels of situational awareness. Within the study at hand, an open system architecture was developed in order to increase the efficiency of sensor suites. The open system architecture for smart sensor suites, based on a system-of-systems approach, enables combining different sensors in multiple physical configurations, such as distributed sensors, co-located sensors combined in a single package, tower-mounted sensors, sensors integrated in a mobile platform, and trigger sensors. The architecture was derived from a set of system requirements and relevant scenarios. Its mode of operation is adaptable to a series of scenarios with respect to relevant objects of interest, activities to be observed, available transmission bandwidth, etc. The presented open architecture is designed in accordance with the NATO Architecture Framework (NAF). The architecture allows smart sensor suites to be part of a surveillance network, linked e.g. to a sensor planning system and a C4ISR center, and to be used in combination with future RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) for supporting a more flexible dynamic configuration of RPAS payloads.