Broadcast Blog

Tracking aircraft with camera robotics

How the versatile nature of camera robotics is impacting new industries.

By Assaff Rawner, CEO

MRMC may be known for manufacturing cutting-edge robotics for the Film and Broadcast industries, but did you know that we have also developed equipment for the aviation, nuclear waste management and even space exploration sectors? Our robotics have been used to inspect Boeing aircraft wings, examine the degradation of nuclear-contaminated waste storage containers and simulate space station docking sequences for SpaceX, to name a few. The applications for specialised camera robotics truly have no limit.

Most recently, we developed exceptional computer vision algorithms for an AFC100 Robotic Head, fitted with our advanced tracking software, for the purpose of smoothly and accurately detecting, as well as tracking, incoming aircraft at London Heathrow Airport. We elected to name this bespoke solution, ‘Towerscan’.

Housed in a thick weatherproof casing, the system is capable of locking onto an individual aeroplane, even when other crafts come into view. ‘Towerscan’ then proceeds to automatically adjust zoom settings as a subject moves towards it, allowing planes to stay the same size on camera throughout filming (subject to the zoom’s range).

The computer vision algorithms utilised by the AFC100 can be set to track a variety of vehicles with a zoom that can extend to a combined optical and digital of 144 times. The versatile utility of this software has sparked consideration for its use in tracking ships, with expected trials to take place for coast guard/border control applications.

Check out the video below to see the AFC100 in action at Heathrow Airport.

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