The United States Army has issued a new request for information (RFI) seeking technology that is capable of identifying people and objects through walls.
The RFI states that the Army is looking for portable technology that can “detect, identify, and monitor persons, animals, and materials behind multi-leveled obstruction(s) from a long standoff range.”
The Sense Through the Wall System (STTW) they are seeking should be able to perform “knowledge management functions”, read biometric data, and use machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve its capabilities, according to the RFI.
The RFI says that the Army is looking for tech that is ready for use, and though there is some wall-penetrating technology that is currently available, it doesn’t fit the ‘portability’ criteria the Army is currently looking for, with a steep trade-off in terms of the size of the device versus its image detail and clarity.
As FedScoop reports, the Army has previously provided funding for a private company, Lumineye, for the development of echolocation technology similar to what is used by dolphins. That tech has limited detection capabilities and doesn’t possess the full 360-degree biometric vision that the Army is after.
With soldiers frequently deployed in urban environments performing counterinsurgency operations, the ability to be able to ‘see’ or detect people and objects through walls is of a high priority. The Army sees it as not only a way to avoid surprise attacks, but also as a way to help soldiers identify and confiscate illicit arms and potentially dangerous incendiary devices that could be hidden from view.
The RFI comes from a collaboration with the Army’s Special Operations Forces, Combat Capabilities Development, and other research organizations.
January 31, 2020 – by Tony Bitzionis