The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) is continuing to invest in long-range biometric identification technology. To that end, the organization has announced the formal establishment of the Biometric Recognition & Identification at Altitude and Range (BRIAR) research program, a multi-year research and development endeavor that will lead to the creation of new biometric software for the US military and Intelligence Agencies.
The BRIAR program has been in the works for several years, though it has yet to move beyond the exploratory phase. IARPA issued a basic Request for Information in September of 2019, and then asked interested parties to submit solutions for consideration in December of 2020.
The latest announcement simply indicates that IARPA is ready to move on to actual research and development. To that end, the agency has awarded research contracts to several teams of scientists from the corporate and academic sectors. The full list includes Accenture Federal Services, Intelligent Automation, Kitware, and Systems & Technology Research, in addition to Michigan State University, the University of Houston, and the University of Southern California.
Each team will focus on a different component of the proposed BRIAR system. IARPA is hoping to build a comprehensive system that can perform both face and whole body identification, even when images and footage are captured at an extreme distance, or at an extreme angle with the camera high up in the air. The agency plans to deploy the system in drones, and therefore needs a system that can see through the distortions that result from harsh atmospheric conditions.
“National security technologies must accurately and reliably operate under conditions that are extremely difficult for existing biometric technologies to succeed in,” said BRIAR program manager Lars Ericson. “I am confident that our excellent team of research organizations, scientists, and engineers will push the research forward and build technologies that are significantly ahead of the current state-of-the-art.”
Carnegie Mellon University and General Electric Research have also received research contracts that ask them to support the efforts of the other teams and the project as a whole. IARPA operates as part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
March 17, 2022 – by Eric Weiss