Multi-camera 3D vision technology provider NODAR has won a contract to develop 3D vision systems for military off-road autonomous ground vehicles (AGVs).

The $1.67m Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract will see the company work along with the US Army.

The vision systems will be used for autonomous military vehicles operating in off-road and confined environments.

The company’s Hammerhead technology will support navigation by sensing terrain, vegetation and other types of off-road barriers even in low visibility environments.

NODAR cofounder and CEO Leaf Jiang said: “NODAR is unique in our ability to provide long range, high resolution, realtime 3D sensing using independently mounted cameras while remaining resilient to unfriendly environmental conditions.

“NODAR’s 3D vision system produces dense 3D pointclouds with highly accurate distance estimates to each pixel in the scene.

“These data provide the detail needed to navigate through difficult terrain and around obstacles.”

The company claims that its 3D vision systems can sense terrains to up to nearly 1,000m.

The sensing capability enables the perception system to identify hidden threats even before the vehicle enters the location.

According to the company, this capability is achieved by mounting several cameras with overlapping views on the vehicle.

In order to manage alignment between cameras, NODAR applies computer vision software, which is yet to receive a patent.

The Hammerhead uniquely provides 360°, long-range, high frame-rate three-dimensional (3D) data in real-time to the navigation system of the military vehicles.

ASA(ALT) Army Applied SBIR and Prize Competitions director Matt Willis said: “The Army Applied Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program connects army soldiers and technical and operational subject matter experts with small businesses to provide insight into unique army technology needs and guide those small businesses through the army research and development ecosystem.

“Partnering with these small businesses is critical in helping us to develop game-changing technologies in capabilities such as sensing to support the Army and our soldiers, so we’re excited to be working with this latest round of small-business awardees.”