Driver Situational Awareness made Easy

The Enhanced Situational Awareness (ESA) camera system from DRS Technologies, a Finmeccanica company, overcomes potential danger during missions.

The company’s ESA system arms drivers of large combat vehicles with close to a 360-degree view of their surroundings, providing an unparalleled advantage in the interest of safety and mission success.

By means of a unit known as a Driver’s Vision Enhancer Wide (DVE Wide) module containing three infrared cameras, the system provides a 107- by 30-degree visual field through the windshield, affording a clear view of the road ahead and the edges on both sides. Meanwhile, wheel-track displays with 40- by 30-degree fields of view from the sides of a vehicle allow drivers to determine the best way to maneuver in confined spaces and around obstacles.

A camera facing backward allows a driver to safely reverse a vehicle and a commander to deploy troops confidently from the rear. With the ESA system, troops never need to leave the safety of the vehicle and guide it out of a tight or dangerous spot.

The DRS technology is designed to be custom-tailored economically to vehicle and mission. A basic Driver’s Vision Enhancer system can be upgraded easily to an ESA system because of its simple drop-in replacement design. External cameras can be added or removed, permitting users to adapt the vehicle to changing mission requirements.

DVE Wide is the next generation of vision enhancement and built with an advanced uncooled thermal imaging system. Sensors electronically “stitch” together the images from the three side-by-side thermal imaging modules to produce a seamless front view, dramatically improving the field of view.

Using this system, the driver can pan through the full 107 degrees to see the road edges on each side or to favor one side of the road that may be particularly challenging, such as the drop-off of a mountain pass. This greatly increases crew safety while negotiating challenging terrain.

Additionally, the system displays wheel track indicators that define the width of the vehicle. These tracks give the driver a reference to the location of the vehicle. They also allow the driver to determine the best way to maneuver the vehicle in confines spaces or hazardous areas where vehicle rollovers are prevalent.

The ESA system increases survivability, mobility, force protection and safety to turn situational awareness into situational advantage.

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