Software and hardware equipment for real-time data fusion

Ref-Nr: TDO0136

Examples of the cockpit interfaces, generating a single reading from arrays of sensors and different types of technologies implemented.

Technology abstract

A major Italian engineering consultancy company is offering real-time software and the related hardware for the management of data fusion sensors. The original application derives from space, particularly from the Exomars mission Electrical Ground Support Equipment. However, the results in sensors data management could be applied into different sectors where similar specifications are needed, such as aeronautics, automotive and in the industrial manufacturing.

This technology has been developed within the EXOMARS initiative. The results are relevant in terms of the access to the relevant knowledge needed to permit the fusion of the sensors, and to unlock scenarios of exploitation of these spatial results in terrestrial industrial fields. The technology owner grants full commercial and consultancy approach to give availability of the results and to provide support on contract to grant development in whatever industrial fields.

- Tanya Scalia -

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Technology Description

In the framework of the Exomars project, an Italian engineering consultancy company performed the design, development and integration of software components of the EXOMARS Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE). The following are the capacities and expected fusion performances to be provided by the system components:
• Radar Doppler Altimeter (RDA). Functional Software Model able to reproduce in real time the functionalities of the real RDA equipment, by reacting both to commands received by the CANBUS and to input data provided to the digital section;
• CANBUS Front End Module. This module manages the data exchange on the CANBUS interface;
• Performance Evaluator. This module provides instruments to analyse data collected during the integration activities, and makes them available for further upper-level elaboration.
Altogether, these activities enhance the overall capability of developing and managing complex software tools working in real-time. The offering includes the development of an embedded platform with special focus on real-time constraints. An important issue is also the one related to the fusion of data coming from different types of sensors. The partition process aims at finding the most suitable partition of the algorithm into software and hardware parts. The partition describes in what scale off-the-shelf processing units (multi-core processor) can be used, instead of Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGAs), generating sensible computational savings and reduced times of response. The selection of the correct components also has to include consideration for the power-consumption, memory requirements, computation performance, real-time operating system, development and debugging tools etc.. resulting in a fully integrated SW – HW solution. Such know-how and capability can be applied in principle to many other sectors where the fusion of information coming from different sensors is needed, and can represent a substantial plus in terms of system awareness and response capacity to mutated environmental conditions, such for example in the automotive, aeronautic and industrial manufacturing sectors. Thematic like robot – humans interactions and environment learning are at the forefront of these types of applications.

Innovations & Advantages

• Real-time management of data from networks of sensors characterized by different working systems and protocols, different measured quantities and different enabling technologies
• Accurate management of the data fusion process
• Management of the simulator consoles and of all the related HW & Front-end equipment
• Method of performances evaluation via SW

Further Information

Current and Potential Domains of Application

The technology is currently applied in the space sector. The combination of algorithm and its relevant hardware can be applied also into the automotive /aeronautic sectors and, more in general, anywhere there is a high level of data fusion from different sensors with real-time needs (e.g. human – robotic interactions).