The ARGUS-IS, or the Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) project contracted to BAE Systems.

According to DARPA: ‘The mission of the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance – Imaging System (ARGUS-IS) program is to provide military users a flexible and responsive capability to find, track and monitor events and activities of interest on a continuous basis in areas of interest.

The overall objective is to increase situational awareness and understanding enabling an ability to find and fix critical events in a large area in enough time to influence events. ARGUS – IS provides military users an ‘eyes-on’ persistent wide area surveillance capability to support tactical users in a dynamic battlespace or urban environment.’

The contract was awarded in late 2007 with a budget of US$18.5 million and duration of 30 months. The three principal components of the ARGUS-IS are a 1.8 Gigapixels video system plus two processing subsystems, one in the air and the other located on the ground. The sensor uses four lenses and 368 cell phone cameras, 5 megapixels each. The first test flight using a UH-60 Black Hawk was declared a success by BAE in February 2010. A demonstration of the system was made available to the PBS NOVA program and used in a story on UAV’s.

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