Sunday, February 03, 2013

imagine this technology deployed in a country with a more repressive government...,

the atlantic | Word of DARPA's experimental 1.8-gigapixel surveillance video camera, ARGUS-IS, first surfaced in 2009. And now that they probably have something better hidden, more details continue to emerge.

A PBS video got to look at the actual video feeds -- and they are stunning. Take a look. Watch for the arm waving guy at about 1:55 or so:

One thing to note is that a drone can just hang out at 15,000 feet over a small city-sized area (roughly, half of Manhattan) and provide video surveillance of the whole thing. The other thing to note is that they are running machine vision on the moving objects, which means they are generating structured data out of the video, not just displaying the pictures.

I won't get completely into the legal details, but what if some branch of government or a corporation (maybe not Google, but maybe Google) set one of these guys up over an American city. They say that Big Data analysis has told them that criminals (or consumers!) display certain types of behavior that can be spotted at that distance, helping them deploy police (or marketing promotions) on the ground more effectively. And the rest of the city's citizens? Well, they're collateral data.

Maybe far-fetched for the United States, but imagine this technology widely deployed in a country with a more repressive government. Fist tap Arnach.


Ed Dunn said...

This is already in the works for urban environments. DARPA has a $25K award last year for quadcopters that can use smart cameras and self-navigation. My own research and testing within our group was expensive - the wind was crash landing and inhibiting our quadcopters and we have to keep replacing parts and not capture good images. Propeller-based drones that fly in a circular pattern with a camera faced down, we had trouble landing and returning to base and only about 15-20 minutes flight time.

I have not considered tethered blimps but again, this is pretty expensive and I believe the FAA limit won't allow us to fly higher than the effective range of pellet/bb gun fire. So we are looking at land-based drones for urban environments which can self-navigate or remotely navigate and hide effectively and operate in a swarm-based environment. Like i said, we getting there and need this type of technology for urban warfare environments.

CNu said...

Since this video goes back to 2009, and since we already know about highly efficient blimps that have been in operation even longer - I suspect that this technology has already been very widely deployed for panoptic surveillance in a fair number of major american cities.