Army Contracts IAI to Develop Mobile Device Based Environment Sensing for Battlefield Terrain Analysis

Accurate terrain assessments are critical for terrain analysis, intelligence preparation of the battlefield and the commander’s situational awareness. ¬†Currently, environmental conditions are determined from US Air Force Weather forecast data based on a few point observations across the battlefield, available only a few times daily. This gives commanders very limited geospatial information of the operating environment to base their decisions on, increasing uncertainty of outcomes. Soldiers at the lower echelons including combat outposts or forward operating bases are limited by hardware, time and network connectivity to generate accurate, high-resolution terrain analysis information. Providing local terrain assessment capability on soldiers’ mobile devices including the existing Army Nett Warrior’s Android can enhance situational awareness. To address this critical need, IAI plans to develop EnviMobile, a mobile device based environment sensing and crowd-sourcing software tool for battlefield terrain analysis. This software leverages networked mobile devices to serve as environment sensors, using tools that are readily available on mobile devices without relying on any additional devices or sensors. EnviMobile can enable existing Army appliances like Nett Warrior’s Android to have dual use capability, operating both as mobile computing platforms and as environmental sensors, and providing in situ sensing across the battlefield. When each soldier is outfitted with a commercial mobile device to interact with the Army’s Nett Warrior System, these devices will sense and communicate environmental variables and help to quickly identify environmental risks. This crowd sourcing of the operating environment will increase mineable geospatial information used in terrain analysis applications, and increase situational understanding of mission-specific environmental intelligence for mission critical planning, decision making, and increasing mission success. Integrating EnviMobile with other wearable technology could also provide situational understanding of soldier stress due to environmental conditions.