High-speed cameras attached to a military jet, a helicopter, a hot air balloon or any other aircraft, make for a “smarter” vehicle that can log image data alongside other measurements taken. Technology like this can aid in disaster response, provide highly-detailed maps, and assist airborne law enforcement in major interdictions. Without a means to accurately time stamp the data and a processing system that can match it up in order to inform safety-critical decisions, however, it’s just expensive aerial photography equipment.

The combination of the parallel processing power of FPGAs and powerful IPs is moving these examples from the drawing board to the runway, as well as provide flexibility for future alterations, which is particularly important when dealing with data streaming in from multiple sources, not to mention evolving industry standards.

The problem is, FPGA development can be very complicated. Not every team has the knowledge base or time to dig into system design and the tedious verification tasks that accompany that work.

But it doesn’t have to hold those teams back

A company that develops imaging solutions for aerospace applications came to DornerWorks for FPGA design and IP development for an aerospace application that optimized data ingestion from a dozen simultaneously streaming cameras.

Our Solution

At the start of the project, DornerWorks organized its hardware, software, and FPGA teams to provide the client with system level expertise, and fill knowledge gaps.

A pair of Altera Arria 10 SoC devices was used to aggregate and display up to five different video sources via six HD-SDI outputs and one 6G-SDI output. The multi-camera sensor imaging system for data collection DornerWorks developed with the customer involves HDMI, CameraLink, CoaxExpress, and other imaging interfaces.

Custom logic built for this system provides:

  • Video Synchronization and Triggering
  • MetaData insertion
  • Color correction and contrast enhancement

Through a simple, iterative approach, DornerWorks engineers developed a working demo designed to withstand a range of scenarios as well as pair up with existing development platforms. The client then used that prototype to secure new revenue streams with a wider portfolio.

The FPGA-based system provides the company with flexibility in a field subject to rapidly evolving standards and requirements. And, despite having little to no prior FPGA experience, the company found a way to develop a design that would bolster its reputation in the market, without having to redesign a single aircraft.