Aerial Surveillance System

Prelims level : Science & Technology Mains level : GS 3: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
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  • The hyper spectral imagery programme, a first for the country, seeks to locate and identify suspicious movements and is expected to be operational in the next two years.


  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) has commissioned the development of an aerial surveillance system for monitoring suspicious movements under dense foliage cover along the international border and some parts within the country.
  • The programme would mean is that the data gathered from aerial sources would be processed within minutes, and researchers would be able to tell security forces on the ground of “unwanted” human presence in the area, their numbers and locations, among other inputs.
  • The IAF is spending Rs. 13 crores for the programme in which human resources from premier research and education institutions across the country are being put together, and has roped in a senior researcher and lead technologist of Indian origin from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as the chief technologist for the programme.
  • “For the first time, IAF will be having multi-sensor data fusion that will help identify an adversary. It has a mandate to change the way we fight the war. The IAF is willing to wait for a couple of years to reap the benefits. Some agencies in India tried to work on the technology, but have not succeeded.
  • This is a unique patent application, which will help identify the presence of a human below trees, dense foliage, shrubs or inside a structure, whether it is day or night. It can detect human presence from air even if there a cloud cover, dense fog or snow cover.
  • Data/images will be captured through optical and infra-red sensors — to be most likely mounted on an unmanned aerial vehicle — and processed through deep learning algorithms.
  • The methods are in place while they were working on handling data and tuning up the algorithm.
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