NFL technology for UAVs video analysis

American Football is one of my favourite sports and in these days I’m enojoying the NFL (National Football League) playoff of 2009 – 2010 season, whose apex will be the Super Bowl XLIV at Miami’s Dolphin Stadium on Feb. 7, 2010. Games coverage by both CBS and Fox provides images full of data, statistics, facts and replays while most important plays are analysed with the telestrator “a device that allows its operator to draw a freehand sketch over a motion picture image” that is widely used in broadcasts of all major sports. According to an article written by Christopher Drew Jan. 11 New York Times, the military is currently experimenting the telestrator and other TV tools used to “enrich” NFL games to make sense of the videos broadcasted by UAVs (Unmanned Air Vehicles). As exmplained in the NYT article, the US drones operating over Afghanistan and Iraq have shot some much footage that if one analyst had to watch it continuosly, he would need about 24 years! As the amount of video grows, as a consequence of the number of Predator and Reaper being detached in theatre and their high-tech cameras, it becomes much more difficult to make sense of the flood of data collected real time and archived for intelligence purposes. Analysts watching the live feeds have to quickly pass warnings to the ground troops but that kind of information is most of times difficult to understand. It is like tuning in to a football game without the scoreboard, the quarter, the down etc. That’s just raw data and that’s how the military have been using it. TV techniques could be used to automatically send alerts with attached comments and graphics, while a sort of telestrator could be used to highlight a threatening vehicle or to circle a compound that should be attacked. Provided that the feeds can’t be easily intercepted……

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.