Attention-Based Vision for Autonomous Vehicles
Navy SBIR FY2014.1

Sol No.: Navy SBIR FY2014.1
Topic No.: N141-076
Topic Title: Attention-Based Vision for Autonomous Vehicles
Proposal No.: N141-076-0322
Firm: Neya Systems, LLC
145 Lake Drive
Suite 104
Wexford, Pennsylvania 15090
Contact: Mark Ollis
Phone: (724) 799-8078
Web Site:
Abstract: Humans are continually subjected to an overwhelming stream of visual, auditory, olfactory, and touch stimuli. We operate effectively because we are capable of focusing attention on the relevant items, and capable of accurately perceiving tiny discrepancies that are most relevant to our survival while ignoring broad swaths of superfluous data. Our ability to quickly key in on the most relevant sensory data can be shown clearly in, for example, measurements of eye-saccade patterns: when presented with an image of a face, humans focus attention on the most informative parts of an expression, the eyes and mouth, which provide important cues as to the intention and attitude of the individual. Current autonomous systems lack this ability to rapidly focus on the most critical data, and suffer several deficiencies as a result. First, they are too brittle: they fail to adapt effectively to changing requirements and conditions typical of military applications. Second, they are too slow: Third, they make mistakes, failing to handle simple navigation and recognition tasks easily handled by humans. Drawing inspiration from recent understanding in human cognition and sensor processing, we propose SACCADE, a system to rapidly identify and process sensor data from the most relevant objects
Benefits: Benefits include areas for improved autonomy performance suchreconnaissance and surveillance; EOD (explosive ordinance disposal); logistsics/supply; and battlefield casualty extraction. Likely customers for this technology include a variety of robotics systems developers who have existing or future plans to supply UGVs for military use. Commercial non-DoD applications exist as well, particularly in security and border patrol applications. The US Customs and Border Protection office (CBP) already makes extensive use of unmanned vehicles for surveillance and monitoring applications, making them natural customers for the technology developed on this program. We expect that demand for better autonomy will only expand as UGVs become more capable and more affordable. Performance on the proposed SBIR project will position us to immediately exploit that opportunity.