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Rockwell Collins launches EP-8100 image generation system
« on: August 25, 2015, 09:44:01 PM »
ITEC 2015 Rockwell Collins launches EP-8100 image generation system





Although ITEC (and I/ITSEC, for that matter) seem increasingly to be dominated by startlingly clear, bright (and above all, large) displays these days, the prominence of them at this year’s iteration of Europe’s leading training and simulation conference is quite noticeable. Part of this, of course, is the natural desire of simulation developers to show their creations off to maximum advantage. And partly it is due to new product launches, such as the Rockwell Collins EP-8100 image generator (IG) system.

“From the outset our design objectives centred around two closely related issues,” says Robert J. Brantley, manager for IG and Radar Products in the company’s Simulation & Training Solutions Business. “We were determined to protect the customer’s levels of investment in existing systems and architecture – whether or not they currently use our IG – and secondly we wanted to demonstrate how we could provide them with significantly lower life cycle cocts.”

Fully backward compatible with its well-established predecessor, the EP-8000, the new system is being seen for the first time in Europe during ITEC in Prague this week, having been unveiled in Orlando in early April. It has been developed with the military training market firmly in mind – particularly the most challenging environment of helicopter operations. To this end, Brantley points out, the company has gone with a graphics engine designed in house to maximise the innovation the EP-8100 represents, rather than using engines brought in from the games industry.

By doing this, Brantley says, and concentrating on the issues unique to the projected use of the graphics card, Rockwell Collins has managed to pack an astonishing 37 GB of on-board memory onton the card, compared with an average of 3-6 GB available from commercial solutions. Of this, some 16 GB are dedicated solely to texture rendering, enabling sub-meter, out of the window and sensor imagery of very wide areas. The EP-8100 Scene Processor makes use of Field Programmable Gate Array technologies, which are loaded at system boot time, simultaneously with the rendering firmware, which can be customised in line with the specific training task.

With procurement life cycle of 5-7 years and a product support life cycle of 15-20, the EP-8100 is scheduled “to fulfil a hitherto unfulfilled imperative to provide more bang for the same buck,” according to the company’s Senior Director Nick Gibbs. The secret of making the IG work to optimise its full advantages will be to recognise and exploit its capability to use existing customer databases. Featuring highly focussed conversion software, the EP-8100 can use its power ton accelerate and vastly enhance database ‘tweaking’ almost ‘on the fly.’ “The real skill at the user’s disposal here is the ability to have the databases [virtually] make themselves,” says Gibbs.

All in all, the EPS-8100 is a well thought out enhancement on its worthy predecessor and has already won several orders, according to Gibbs. But it is not about technology insertion for the sake of technology insertion – it’s much more about capability. “Radical innovation already exists – but what the customer really wants is stability,” says Brantley.

Originally Posted by MILITARY TECHNOLOGY 30 April 2015 at 10:35
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