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Military Turns to ESPN to Help Analyze Drone Footage

Published: December 22, 2012
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Source: USA Today

Can SportsCenter teach the military something about combating terrorists?

After rapidly expanding the number of drones around the world, the Air Force is now reaching out to ESPN and other experts in video analysis to keep up with the flood of footage the unmanned aircraft are transmitting.

“They’re looking at anything and everything they can right now,” said Air Force Col. Mike Shortsleeve, commander of a unit here that monitors drone videos.

The remote-controlled aircraft are mounted with cameras that transmit real-time video of terrorism suspects to military analysts in the USA.

The amount of video streaming into this base, one of a number of sites that monitors and analyzes the images, is immense. Drone video transmissions rose to 327,384 hours last year, up from 4,806 in 2001.

Given the huge amount of feeds, the Air Force has launched an aggressive effort to seek out technology or techniques that will help them process video without adding more people to stare at monitors.

“We need to be careful we don’t drown in the data,” said David Deptula, a retired Air Force lieutenant general and a senior military scholar at the Air Force Academy.

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