The Smart Video Switcher

Video switching has been commonplace since cameras were first installed on military vehicles. So what’s new with “smart video switching”?

Smart video switching lets system designers, and more importantly a vehicle crew, leverage the benefits of networked video. The underlying architectural structure in vehicle electronics (vetronics) systems is evolving from a standalone point-to-point system to a networked approach. Traditional military imaging systems typically rely on a hardwired connection between a camera and a standard video switcher that then routes the feed to processing or display systems. This centralized approach isolates video to within the vehicle, makes it difficult to interface equipment in multi-vendor designs, and limits scalability.

Designers are now seeking more efficient ways to network devices across a unified, managed, and secure network. NGVA, GVA and VICTORY standards outline Ethernet as the protocol of choice for this service-oriented networked architecture to leverage multicasting, cabling, and cost benefits. Read more about Latency for Situational Awareness and Driving Applications in this whitepaper.

A distributed Ethernet approach lets designers benefit from a scalable, customizable architecture. This could mean starting with a basic system networking cameras to displays. Based on the same architecture, designers can evolve to a fully redundant multi-camera, multi-sensor system integrating recording and dismounted soldier and command center communications.

With this underlying architecture, “smart video switching” helps a vehicle crew be more aware of their surroundings. In a local situational awareness application, the smart video switcher utilizes powerful GPU resources of the NVIDIA Jetson TX2i to stitch together images from multiple cameras to provide a driver with a complete 360° view on a single display. If a camera goes down, automatic failover seamlessly switches to an alternate video source. With all devices connected to a common infrastructure, other crew members can also access the video without software or cabling changes.

“Smart video switching” lets a vehicle crew know immediately if something has changed in their environment. Integrating powerful processing capabilities, the smart device also supports the introduction of machine-learning and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to further reduce cognitive burden.