A new technology called "ARGUS" has the ability to capture details like an individual’s clothing or a bird’s nest- all from 17,500 above and all the footage could potentially be stored.
ARGUS is The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imagine System. Engineer Yiannis Antonaides designed it using 368 basic cellphone cameras. ARGUS boasts 1.8 billion pixels and is also the world’s highest resolution camera, making it one enviable piece of technology.
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The narrator of a video about ARGUS explained its significance, "Argus is the equivalent of having up to 100 predators look at an area the size of a medium-sized city at once," he said.
ARGUS has the ability to automatically track any moving object. "You can see individuals crossing the street, you can see individuals walking in parking lots. There is actually enough resolution to be able to see the people waving their arms or walking around or what kind of clothes they wear," Antonaides revealed.
The technology stores everything- a million terabytes of video each day- the same as 5000 hours of high definition footage.
Employing the 368 cellphone cameras, ARGUS combines video from each one and subsequently makes a 1.8 billion pixel video stream system.
Is ARGUS currently being used to spy on Americans? Antonaides refuses to say. "I’m not at liberty to discuss plans with the government," he admitted. "But if we had our choice, we would like ARGUS to be over the same area 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That’s not very achievable with manned platforms- this is where UAVs come in and they’re absolutely the perfect platform," he explained.
Mary "Missy" Cummings from the MIT Humans and Automation Lab weighed in on the stunning new technology. "The U.S. Air Force right now has the ability to archive every single video that comes off of every single UAV. We’re moving to an increasingly electronic society where our movements are going to be tracked," she warned.