Oregon Company Expands Multi-Camera Payloads to More UAS Applications

Hood River, Ore.-based Overwatch Imaging has completed a yearlong program to upgrade the autonomous image processing capabilities of its TK-X family of airborne multi-camera payloads. The software development program was conducted in collaboration with SOAR Oregon, a nonprofit organization focused on the development of the unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry in Oregon.

Overwatch Imaging creates airborne imaging payloads and autonomous image processing software for drone mapping and inspection applications.

The TK-X family of Overwatch payloads incorporates multiple cameras in an actively stabilized, nadir-oriented mount with automated step-stare camera pointing controls, allowing rapid collection of high-resolution, multispectral imagery, the company explains.

The payloads also include embedded, GPU-based onboard image processing; customized software performs real-time multi-image registration, image-based object detection and image mapping. Each iteration of the TK-X Overwatch payload is tailored to specific customer requirements for size, weight and power, spectral and spatial resolution, and image processing features, Overwatch notes.

Earl Bowerman, executive director of SOAR Oregon, states, “Overwatch is a great example of the innovative businesses that are making Oregon a drone tech hub and a global leader in the UAS industry.”

During the SOAR Oregon grant program, Overwatch refined several software image processing features in its toolkit, including automatic, real-time image enhancement and real-time small-object detection. The features support Overwatch’s business growth into new applications, including wide-area anti-poaching surveillance and nighttime linear infrastructure inspections, along with large farm system precision agriculture and forest fire management.

“This SOAR Oregon grant has directly contributed to job growth and new customer orders,” comments Greg Davis, founder and manager of Overwatch Imaging. “SOAR Oregon has been a great partner and catalyst to Overwatch and the Oregon UAS industry.”

Nick Anderson, co-founder and design engineer at Overwatch Imaging, adds, “We are running machine-learning-derived algorithms, tailored to our customers’ specific objectives, to create real-time results and affordable, actionable intelligence over very large areas from long-endurance UAS and small aircraft. This capability opens up so many use cases for commercial and civil users.”


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