BlueforceEDGE: Sensor & AI Fusion for Military, Public Safety, and Commercial Autonomous Platforms
The origins of the Blueforce platform began with a singular and simple mission set: Enable warfighters and first responders to leverage their mobile compute devices to quickly form secure human workgroups in order to respond to a rapidly evolving incident. Blueforce delivered this in 2012 in the form of BlueforceTACTICAL for Android which enabled self-synchronization of location, shared ground intelligence, and the fusion and movement of body-attached and proximate IoT sensor data such that decision superiority was realized in severely time-constrained decision environments.
U.S. military intelligence approached Blueforce in 2013 with a need to not only enable rapid swarming of warfighters, but wanted to extend the Blueforce capability to enable unattended ground sensors and overhead autonomous assets to be a part of the edge equation. More importantly, the need existed to have dissimilar battlefield IoT sensors, from different manufacturers, to be able to cue each other such that correlation and non-human workflows could be enabled thereby adding a layer of autonomous cognition. This capability would reduce the number of false positives by allowing best-in-class sensors to be connected into an array of indicators that could derive meaning before ever needing to alert a human. It worked, and in 2013 Blueforce launched what is now called BlueforceEDGE which included expansion of our Plugin capability to allow for the creation and fielding of autonomous agents that run alongside of, and analyze in real-time, human and sensor data delivering reasoned decisions based on multiple factors about the current situation – allowing selective actions designed to meet a certain goal without the involvement of humans.
BlueforceEDGE was a watershed moment for us in that it provided a completely autonomous platform IoT and AI fusion using edge-based processing, enabling the warfighter or first responder to access capabilities on the fly, share actionable ground truth intelligence, and swarm faster than our adversaries. Our patented Decentralized Fusion Engine (DFE) and services oriented architecture (SOA) enables serial or parallel processing with edge and/or cloud-based AI, decreasing the need for remote processing and limiting ingress bandwidth to the core and the cloud. This mobile edge compute capability has resulted in the acceleration of recognitional decision making by widening the responder’s aperture to a greater number of IoT sensor inputs, and a wider array of sensor types, delivering superior decision support and accelerated speed of command.
Fast forward to 2021: The mosaic capabilities delivered by Blueforce which enable sensor fusion and autonomous edge services is now available on Linux where we focused on scaling that starts with running BlueforceEDGE on the sensor head on smaller compute form factors, but also massive scaling for geographically distributed virtual environments. Core to the design was space, weight, and power (SWaP):
- Space: It became clear that we needed to design our Linux product line such that it could run on compute platforms as small as a Raspberry Pi ZERO and other small form factor single board compute platforms. This enables out-of-the-box sensor fusion with stream analytics to be deployed to a sensor head, or smart city infrastructure.
- Weight: Because BlueforceEDGE Linux can run efficiently on compute native to an edge device, we eliminated the need for additional boxes, appliances, and batteries.
- Power: In developing BlueforceEDGE Linux, we had a huge opportunity to reimagine distributed computing by embedding system resource monitoring on a single endpoint, and making that metric portable such that any device on the network has an ability to hand off compute should a single system be over-taxed and/or running low on power.
This miniaturization has delivered a multitude of “dual-use” (it’s not just for the military anymore!) embedded sensor fusion, sensor cueing, and AI-enabled sense-making customer use cases that now include:
- Retail and Commercial: BlueforceEDGE is now being deployed inside of building assets like intelligent displays, fusing in-building sensors for loss prevention and COVID disease surveillance, but now dual-purposed to use stream AI for purpose driven merchandising and in-store marketing. Think real-time, AI-enabled demographic information (with an eye towards anonymity and privacy) that presents more focused messaging and upsell opportunities enhancing the customer experience while increasing basket size.
- Public Sector: BlueforceEDGE is now deployed inside of intelligent lighting for gunshot detection and environmental monitoring, but also 5G enabled Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) service platforms, to enhance public safety while also providing micro-services to citizens and first responders alike for safer cities.
- NATSEC: BlueforceEDGE is deployed inside of both ground and airborne autonomous platforms which deliver awareness of not only service platform health, but fusing a wide array of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance IoT sensors that protect bases and critical infrastructure.
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