The Air Force has touted the ARGUS-IS as the next generation for sensor technology. This sensor so advanced it has Air Force leaders worried that their intelligence analysts don’t have the tools to consume and utilize all the data it consumes.

Air Force officials have reached out to sports broadcast companies and reality television producers to figure out how to work with so many data feeds.

Video after the jump.

The ARGUS-IS can stream up to a million terabytes of data and record 5,000 hours of HD footage per day. It can do this by the 1.8 gigapixel camera and 368 different sensors all housed in the ARGUS-IS.

Air Force intelligence aircraft, drones and manned planes, carry the sensor up to 20,000 feet up and can spot specific features of individuals down to the color of their clothes.


About the Author

Michael Hoffman
Michael Hoffman is the executive editor at Tandem NSI and a contributor to Military.com. He can be reached at mhoffman@tandemnsi.com.
  • luke

    When will Google maps be getting this? ;-)

  • MCQknight

    This would enable a commander to keep tabs on an entire battlefield area in real time. Almost like the Total War games by SEGA.

  • stephen russell

    Need this for Self Drive Cars IE convert into maps alone.
    Radical for tourist promos of area X.
    Leery for invasion of privacy abuse.
    Or great to track felons from above.
    (tweek program some)

    Great plus Implications.

  • Stan

    This is from the Department of Too Much Information. They will need software and supercomputers to process all this data, probably artificial intelligence. I can’t imagine this being useful otherwise. Enter Watson (actually it would be perfectly useless in this instance since the info is visual, not textual or speechual).

  • Tad

    I think Stan nailed it, too much info.

    The thought that crosses my mind is that meaningful information from people, spies let’s say, is probably way more useful than much of these imagery data. Perhaps this stuff should be filed away and ignored until “spy” information suggests that one should look at imagery or other electronic data from a certain area.

  • 10th

    For some reason, I predict these over U.S. cities…

  • johnvarry

    The scary part is that if they are releasing data on this system that means they have something better in service or coming into service very soon.

  • Dave M

    Could this be used for forensics? Say there’s a bomb that goes off somewhere, just track the person that planted it/set it off back in time to where he came from. Then you can track the people that went into the same building as him back to where they came from, and so on. Basically, by using rewind you could completely root out every member of a terrorist cell.

  • 4FingersOfBourbon

    Eagle EYE

  • Jayson

    Fox has tech adding red colour for shoot, blue colour for pass that isn’t being used. Perhaps the military can implement it in with this in case they spy on a hockey game or such.

  • tom smith

    Skynet just got another tool to burn us all with.

  • Dee

    Loose lips sink ships people! For crying out loud zip your lip unless it’s to take a nice big sip from the Shut The Hell Up Cup.

    I mean to say “We, as a nation, can and should better serve our national security interests and not make our capabilities a viral sensation on the Internet.”

    Thank you.

  • Vaporhead

    A MILLION TERABYTES of info a day from one friggin camera? HOLY COW! Feel bad for the poor sap who gotta back all that info up on DVD’s. ;)

    • AnonTech

      They’ll probably use a cloud type system instead of actual physical memory space. My home computer has 8TB’s of space on it. SSD’s. No matter what I try to do to bog it down it’s instantaneous data. I can transfer one SSD to the other in less than a minute.

      And I just use mediocre tech. I spent a little more than the cheap stuff, but it’s well worth it. I’m sure Uncle Sam could put me to shame a thousand times over, just for kicks.

      We’re also assuming they’re using the same kind of computer tech we are and not something out of Star Trek that’ll be revealed to us through DT in the next 5yrs. Lol.

      • Menzie

        It all costs money. So 1tb is say $50 bucks relatively cheap…so you want them to spend an extra $50million per day to store 1 camera worth of data. Ummmm……okay…….we dont have the money. Or should we print more …..or make a platinum coin worth $15 billion just for one camera per year? Ya know if I swore Id swear at you and call you a moron but I don’t so I won’t.

      • blight_

        Considering high performance computing users are using petabyte storage…and this is with sufficient RAID in case of a bad day.

        God knows how much storage the Internet Wayback Machine or Google require.

        Bear in mind it says “stream” a million terabytes of data per day. They will really need a means to process every frame, determine value and store it to disk or to dump it from RAM.

        There’s also tape drive if required.

        Something like this would be interesting to put over a city and track a perp. You wouldn’t even need a terabyte to pick out one car and follow it around a la Enemy Of The State.

    • Menzie

      Yeah we need a new way of storing/compressing said data or we will fill up mountains with servers full of data yet to be sorted through very easily.

  • Nick

    You guys are really thinking like kids. Those cameras will sometime be tracking your movements, who knows you are not a terrorist? The next article says it right: Back to the future, back to ‘1984’.

  • LauraB

    Considering this piece on the somewhat grey ethics at DARPA, this sort of thing always sets my teeth on edge…as usual, if it is released, it is old news. Still, who received that data earlier still?

    The lack of ethics in the current and prior generation is what shall bring it all down. Ethics and honor are the only leashes on absolute power.

  • LauraB
  • Gozer

    Awesome, cannot wait for it to start tracking “terrorists” in the USA. We’ll be able to catch anyone doing any “crime” ever! YA!

  • Kole

    Can that thing pour coffee?

  • richard crews

    will they be ab;e to issue speeding tickets after the fact/ see the speeder after analysis, or processing, then follow speeder home (from above0 to identify. mail them a ticket.
    find pot plants with spectral analysis.
    nude sunbathing!

  • raghavendrabsrg

    Oh man! This is awesome! The future will be more technologically advanced than in any science fiction movies! This is a very good achievement in the fields of image processing and Electronic design!! :)

  • Ems

    it’s just 400 COTS cellphone camera sensors housed in one unit. Imagine how many the Chinese could afford to put…the real high tech will be in making this data useful as others have pointed out

  • Brandon

    If it is only cell phone cameras grouped into one, I wonder if they use the newest Iphone camera that can shoot 12 megapixels and has almost twice the capabilities of other smartphone cameras to improve clarity and color. If not, Argus just got some more resolution.

  • SFP

    The thought that crosses my mind is that meaningful information from people, spies let’s say, is probably way more useful than much of these imagery data. Perhaps this stuff should be filed away and ignored until “spy” information suggests that one should look at imagery or other electronic data from a certain area.

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