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Monday Night Football May Improve UAV Intelligence

The rate of technological advancement in Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology has created a sort of Moore’s Law problem for the military as the amount of raw video footage is expected to grow exponentially.  Not only are UAVs growing in numbers and the role they play in military operations, they are experiencing rapid gains in the number of sensors being carried and recorded upon.  UAVs have matured from carrying a single video sensor to simultaneous recording from up to 12 angles—and are expected to go as far as 92 angles in the near future.  This tripartite growth will not only require more pilots and intelligence analysts but the implementation of a new, more efficient way to use and archive this data.

To avoid the impending data deluge, the Air Force is looking to Monday Night Football.  Football broadcasters have been providing their viewers with a polished, user friendly and organized finished product for decades.  Navy Commander Joseph Smith of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has confirmed that the military wants to learn from football broadcasters.  “There are these three guys who sit in the back of an ESPN or Fox Sports van, and every time Tom Brady comes on the screen, they tap a button so that Tom Brady is marked.” Just as importantly, this footage is organized, tagged and archived for rapid retrieval–“they just type in: ‘Tom Brady, touchdown pass.”  Visit the New York Times article for more.


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