MILAN — A Greek defense startup is proposing a new autonomous surveillance tower, “Outpost,” to improve the monitoring of remote islands, a capability considered crucial in territorial disputes with neighbor Turkey.
Outpost uses artificial intelligence for geo-locating, classifying and tracking a wide-range of threats including persons, drones, vessels, aircraft, vehicles, and smoke piles, according to manufacturer Lambda Automata. The use case envisioned by the company centers on the surveillance of the country’s numerous islands in the Aegean Sea, a mission for which local companies recently unveiled the Archytas drone.
The tower can be installed in remote locations with no infrastructure, enabling networked sensing of vast areas with minimal personnel requirements. Equipped with the company’s “Hydra” intelligent-perception plugin, the sensors enable the detection of threats on three-dimensional map displays.
In contrast to other platforms on the market, the Outpost uses high-caliber computer vision algorithms that allow it to turn low-cost CCTV cameras into powerful situational awareness tools. Both its hardware and software are vendor-agnostic, supporting the integration of additional sensors already deployed. The solar-powered technology is also highly customizable and can be installed within minutes, depending on requirements.
Concerning the system’s precise detection capabilities, the company remains vague, pointing to sensor configuration as the determining factor. The current performance benchmark is a “really careful observer with a pair of binoculars and a cellphone,” Lambda Automata CEO Dimitris Kottas said in an interview.
He said the company’s target customer group is “defense and security agencies – as well as big corporations needing to secure critical infrastructure – in Greece, the European Union, and their allies.”
Field trials for Outpost with pilot customers are making “fast progress,” Kottas added. The technology is slated for exhibition at the annual Association of the United States Army confab Oct. 10-12 in Washington.
The company expects to reach five paid installations by the fourth quarter of 2022, and Kottas hopes to see acknowledgment of the technology through NATO and European Union innovation channels. Engineers are now working to support marine radars and sophisticated electro-optical sensors for Outpost, all fused together in a single 3D map. A counter-drone functionality and “marine testing grounds” are forecasted for the second quarter of 2023, Kottas said.
Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.