Military operations in urban environment are deeply changing the requirements posed on sensing technologies. The final goal remains “threat mapping” within the area of operation, but the environmental constraints and the intrinsic nature of urban threats are radically novel.
Threats maps are intended for supporting a number of operations, such as (i) patrolling andinspection, (ii) secured areas monitoring, and (iii) intervention planning for relief, which we consider as reference examples for urban operations. These missions face offences and attacks that are intrinsically irregular, asymmetric and heterogeneous, such as hit-and-run ambushes, snipers, bombing attacks, hostile crowd, etc. We focus on peculiar urban threats, which offer high complexity in detection and characterization, i.e., ground vehicles and groups of persons, which potentially carry or perpetrate the offence. The features of the menaces to cope with vary from case to case: city characteristics, neutral elements, and behavioural common practices draw the “nominal scenario” in which opponents act. An accelerating, stop-and-go vehicle at one hundred meter range from the protected installation might be considered a “potential threat” or just a common “passer-by”.
AUDIS (Acoustic Urban Threat Detector for Improved Surveillance Capabilities) aims at designing and developing a novel cognitive sensor that offers flexibility and adaptivity to the encountered scenario while ensuring a neat capability improvement in recognition and characterization of such ground threats. The AUDIS sensor is a multi modal, in–air passive acoustic device working in arrayed/sparse configuration. It offers the high number of degrees of freedom that is necessary for (i) optimal disturbance rejection (e.g. reverberation in urban environment), (ii) detection of potential threats, (iii) tracking of threats represented by ground vehicles and hostile crowds or human beings (“nontransient” targets, NTTs), (iv) threat classification and friend-foe-neutral elements identification, and (v) threat behaviour analysis and risk evaluation.
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