News story: Analysing data for autonomous situational awareness


War Hero
Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd has received funding from the Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE) to develop a way for unmanned vehicles to identify potential targets, by quickly analysing data within a busy environment.

Topological data analysis (TDA) is a technique which allows large and varied information to be interpreted, enabling human operators and robots to ‘see the big picture’.

Working with academic partners, the company has developed a TDA variant that is robust and has the potential to be used on board unmanned vehicles to detect and discriminate certain targets in different environmental conditions during a surveillance mission.

In the first phase of this work, the technique was applied in an underwater domain to analyse synthetic aperture sonar (SAS) images for potential targets.

In the next phase of this work, Atlas Elektronik will work with academic partners to further examine how the TDA can work in more complex environments and with expanded data sources to include electro-optic and thermal imagery.

The technique could be applied to a variety of unmanned and manned vehicles where the amount of data requires rapid processing to identify real targets of interest.

Dr Sue Metcalff, Head of MOD Research and Advice Division, Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd says:

We pride ourselves on our ability to take new and innovative ideas and help develop them through the technology readiness levels to frontline service. Our work with CDE has proved invaluable in enabling us to develop several theoretical concepts which in due course will help to improve MOD operational capability.

Atlas Elektronik UK Ltd is the biggest subsidiary within the ATLAS Group with just over 300 employees and is based in Winfrith, Dorset.

About CDE

CDE funds novel, high-risk, high-potential-benefit research. We work with the broadest possible range of science and technology providers, including academia and small companies, to develop cost-effective capabilities for UK armed forces and national security.

CDE is part of Dstl.

Centre for Defence Enterprise

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