These systems have found greater significance due to their unique capabilities, including real-time image capture, video relays, and other intelligence inputs to command centers located in remote areas. The need to support enhanced situational awareness is one of the strongest factors driving the deployment of UGS systems. Governments in the region have initiated a number of projects to establish a sound security support system.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (technicalinsights.frost.com), Unattended Ground Sensors, finds that defense establishments have expressed a strong preference for the usage of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components as there is a major drive to reduce the expense associated with developing military equipment. As UGS systems offer the prospect of contributing the COTS drive, they could possibly offset the expense-related issues and thus, maintain the cost of equipment at a stable level.
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"The rising instances of border trespassing have clearly exposed the shortcomings in the functionality of the existing homeland security systems," notes Technical Insights Research Analyst Archit Subramanian. "UGS systems could potentially fill this gap, as they provide a unique platform to ensure remote surveillance even in complex landscapes and locations beyond the reach of defense personnel."
Companies are also considering the use of UGS systems in other application domains beyond core defense and security.
Despite the buzz surrounding UGS systems, some aspects are preventing their large-scale adoption. Issues such as power management, tendency to trigger false alarms, operational sustainability, and other deployment nitty-gritties are currently impeding the uptake of UGS systems.
Energy efficiency is the foremost challenge curtailing the use of UGS in military operations. UGS systems are typically required to function over long durations, extending for as long as 90 days or more. Consequently, they are required to support strong power management capabilities, as complementing energy harvesting technologies are still scarce in this sector. Moreover, as most of these sensors are largely deployed anonymously in hostile conditions, external techniques for recharging the batteries integrated into the sensors do not serve as suitable alternatives in defense operations.
"With the new generation of UGS systems being designed to support resource-intensive intelligence capabilities such as real–time image transfer, the strain on the battery is expected to further increase," says Subramanian. "This quite evidently is expected to make power management an even greater area of concern for the developers in this segment."
Another important dimension to the aspect of energy management in UGS is the impact it bears on its lifecycle cost. Frequent battery drain and expensive recharging techniques are not expected to provide a suitable solution for this issue. Individual commanders and personnel are currently pursuing ion battlefield operations; however, their reliability is expected to largely depend on the design of more advanced energy regulation techniques.
The next phase of advancement in UGS is expected to focus on integrated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with UGS. This presents an attractive prospect to overcome the conventional connectivity obstacles associated with ground-to-ground communication. Furthermore, this unparalleled capability offers the prospect of overcoming critical tactical warfare and surveillance related challenges that currently obstruct the path to successful deployment of UGS systems.
The future adoption of UGS systems is expected to directly depend on the pace of the advances made by wireless communication, power management techniques, and other complementing research proceeds. Energy harvesting technologies are expected to hold the key to shaping the future of UGS systems. Given its rich application and unmatched functionalities, it is important for researchers in this industry to drive the technology forward through correct channels. Precise prototype development and stringent field testing are poised to blaze the trail forward.
Unattended Ground Sensors, a part of the Technical Insights subscription, provides a thorough assessment of market drivers, restraints, and challenges. It assesses the projects that have been initiated by the US government, along with the impact it promises to have on the future of UGS deployments. Further, this research service includes detailed technology analysis and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research services.
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