Argus Tracking and Instrument-Control Software

 
 
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ARGUS Tracking and Instrument Control Software

The ARGUS software provides complete integration of all aspects of the tracking system. It is designed for use as a complete turnkey solution for test range optical instrumentation.

The software is written in C++ and runs under the QNX real time operating system. The Argus Tracking and Instrument Control software was conceived as an open-architecture system where additions and enhancements could be made by customers.  Photo-Sonics offers a unique ‘C’ Hook feature that allows customers to link their own special software extensions to the Argus Runtime engine.  This way the user can enhance the software so that the capabilities of Argus are increasing with the special needs of the test ranges.  The 'C' Hook program provides the capability to the range for customizing the system while still retaining the full benefits of a commercial product with normal support, software maintenance, updates and revision control.  Argus uses a network-based architecture compatible with Ethernet / fiber optic connectivity to other software systems. Photo-Sonics is also continually enhancing the basic capabilities of Argus by implementing customer requested features. 


Some of the main characteristics are summarized below.

  • Full Remote Control
    • Integration to Range Control Center is standard.
    • Fiber optic or microwave links available.
    • Real-time link to control center for TSPI and status outputs, and for designation, remote control commands and countdown inputs.
    • Real-time link to (optional) front-end processor for multi-instrument designation and acquisition.
    • Multiple video outputs for transmission to Range Control Center (Selectable from RCC).
    • Touch Screen Man-Machine Interface.
    • Ethernet connection for pre-/post-mission data transfers.
  • Formalized Setup
    • Pre-mission preparation is formalized to ensure proper system operation.
    • A pre-defined checklist is used to enter all operation data and check system for faults.
  • Tracking Control
    • Multiple sources of designation and tracking data to ensure mission success including multiple nominal trajectories and predefined waypoints.
    • Multiple sources of target range (distance) data.
    • Priority based mechanism for automatic selection of best tracking and range data.
    • Variable bandwidth tracking filters.
    • Automatic and manual (forced) coast capabilities.
    • Smooth transition from automatic track to manual track.
    • Single and dual-gate automatic video tracker support.
    • Automatic target acquisition capabilities (video & radar).
    • Automatic hand-off between video tracker gates (eg. for airborne stores release).
    • Auto focus for film, digital and video cameras.
    • Auto zoom to ensure optimum image size.
    • Pre-programmed auto tracker configurations to simplify operation.
    • Multiple levels of remote and automatic control using mission specific pre-defined events.
    • Events and configurations can be activated by the local operator, by the control center or automatically based on countdown or T0 time.
    • Asynchronous commands can be received from the control center.
    • System operation designed to handle two operators simultaneously (e.g. man-on-mount for manual tracking, console operator for auto tracking and slaving).
  • Calibration
    • Tilt and wobble calibration for pedestal miss-level using built-in sensor.
    • Includes both Target Board and Stellar Calibration procedures.
    • All calibration processes are fully automated.
    • Includes calibration of all optical sensors as well as radar.
    • Specifically designed for off-axis sensors.
    • Calibration data recorded on video and disk for post-processing.
    • Supports pre- and post-mission calibration for improved accuracy.
  • Target Simulation
    • Built-in target simulation to assist in system setup, system and operator evaluation, and operator training.
    • Fully authentic hardware-in-the-loop simulation. Target motion simulated in 3D based on defined target trajectory and current pedestal position.
    • System operates identically to a normal mission.
    • Multiple synthetic video targets inserted directly into the video path as if visible through the video tracking camera.
    • Tracking camera or VCR provides background image.
  • Maintenance
    • Detailed status displays for each subsystem.
    • Comprehensive maintenance software for each subsystem.
    • Real-time recording of critical internal data to assist in fault location.
    • Network traffic can be recorded for detailed fault analysis.
    • Built-in target simulation can also be used for system performance testing.
    • Servo performance tests built-in.
  • Diagnostics/Built-in-test/Performance Monitor
    • Provides built-in test and fault detection capabilities.
    • Initial self tests performed at start up.
    • Continuously monitors all sub-systems for fault conditions.
    • Always visible fault messages and color coded fault button provided on touch screen display.
    • Pressing the Fault button will display additional faults down to subsystem level.
    • Faults are ‘sticky’ - Will not be cleared until checked by the operator.
    • All faults recorded on disk for later analysis.
  • Auto-Tracker Integration
    • Single or Dual gate configurations.
    • All video cameras are synchronized to ensure minimal timing errors.
    • Real-time switching between gates.
    • Target quality and priority based mechanism for automatic selection of sensors and gates.
    • Synthetic target generation for use by target simulator.
    • Configuration editor for preparation of pre-programmed operating modes.
    • Auto tracker update rates as high as 250 fps.
  • Sensor and Optics Integration
    • Optical sensor configuration editor (plug & play sensor selection).
    • Full integration of all sensor controls (including radar).
    • Auto & manual focus, zoom, iris, exposure control.
    • Scripts to automate the control of the sensors.
    • Control and calibration of zoom lens for metric TSPI collection.
    • Radar configuration editor
    • Control of all data recorders (local & remote).
    • Video headers written to ensure data integrity.
  • Timing and Coordinate Systems
    • Complete suite of coordinate system transformations based on geodetic, ECEF, UTM, Cartesian & polar coordinate systems.
    • GPS and IRIG time used for system timing and synchronization.
    • IRIG-B can be used for control events.
    • Site related parameters (position, reference target coordinates, etc) are stored on disk for all sites.
    • All system timing is synchronized to the on-time edge of the GPS/IRIG signal. This includes the sampling of the encoder data as well as the frame timing for the film, video & digital cameras.
  • Video & Data Recording
    • All recorded video is time-stamped to < 2 microsecond accuracy.
    • All recorded TSPI data is time-stamped to < 2 microsecond accuracy.
    • All system data is recorded in real-time.
    • Data extraction tool provided to extract data for post-mission processing.
  • Data Reduction
    • Fully integrated with Trackeye 3D data reduction software.
    • TSPI data as well as calibration data available to Trackeye.
 
     
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