Overseer

360 Degree sensing for situational awareness in remote environments.

Overview

Situational awareness at remote locations while operating teleoperated systems is key to mission success. Most teleoperation solutions focus on the primary workspace of the robot or equipment just allowing the user to perform their task. These systems tend to provide standard camera feeds or depth sensor, which, for a typical 70° FOV camera, only allows an 8% view of the surrounding environment. This means the rest of the 92% of the remote environment is a “blind spot” for the operator. This makes being in virtual environment a very isolating experience, with the user often loosing situational awareness, an understanding of the wider environment, and context of the operation. So, to operate efficiently often personal need to overwatch the physical environment, in-case of a collision or an authorised personal entering the area, or a large number of static cameras need to be added to the environment and additional personal continuously monitoring these feeds. This makes rapid deployment and perform operations difficult and complex to achieve.

Approach

Overseer combines state-of-the-art 360° cameras, LiDAR distance measurement and omni-direction audio technology into one unified sensor module, capable of integrating with new or existing teleoperated systems. Removing the blind spot currently experienced during remote operations, it increases operator’s situation awareness promoting safe and efficient working with a full understanding of the remote environment. Overseer provides the human operator the ability to work with confidence within their virtual environment, empowering them to do more with the equipment they have.

Solution

Overseer with 360°-360° visual and audio gives a full holistic overview of the situation in the remote environment providing the much-needed sensory stimulus that allows them to utilise their training and assess the situation in real-time. This allows personal who are operating remote equipment to work with confidence, improving performance and efficiency.

Overseer will be developed in partnership with Createc Robotics to provide a full Iris support right out the box. This will enable system integrators that use Iris to plug and play Overseer into their system. Createc’s initial development of the Iris framework was carried out as part of the ‘Elephants to Ants’ project, a £1.5M collaborative research project funded by the NDA and BEIS. Since the completion of that project in September 2019, Createc has founded a spin-out company, Createc Robotics, to carry forward the development of the Iris framework and its ecosystem. Createc Robotics is currently expanding the set of software tools available to make it easy for non-experts to build their own telepresence systems. Createc Robotics aim to make Iris a standard for robotic system development.

Conclusion

Operators of any equipment in remote environment will benefit from both 360°-360° visualisation of their surrounds and audio direct to their VR or visualisation system allowing them to response quickly if a volatile situation occurs. In addition to the immediate operator other support staff will benefit from the additional information presented to them allowing them to support the operator using the same data that the operator is using. Such operator would include, but not exclusive too, military personal performing EOD operations using remote equipment, nuclear decommission or maintenance worker using remote equipment, remote inspection of hard-to-reach areas, for example oil and gas equipment. Each of these are explains where the situation around the workspace can be very volatile and can change very quickly.