Paramount Land Systems signs agreement with Defensphere on mixed reality tech


Paramount Land Systems armoured vehicles will be able to make use of mixed reality situational awareness technology after an agreement was signed with European company Defensphere.

Paramount on 22 April said it had signed a strategic Letter of Intent (LOI) with the Estonian-Croatian Defensphere OU to collaborate in the development, installation and global marketing of the Vegvisir Mixed Reality Situational Awareness System (XRSAS).

Designed as an entirely original situational awareness system, Vegvisir provides armoured vehicle personnel with ‘through the wall’ 360-degree visibility of the battlefield, Paramount said. Its mission computer oversees the technology’s videographic systems, its four layers of sensor systems and its algorithms in synthesizing camera imaging entirely external to the vehicle. The mil-spec video headset is utilised to provide a mixed-reality overview of both activities in the immediate periphery of any land vehicle, and also of objects of interest which may be significantly further away.

Deon Grobler, Chief Executive Officer of Paramount Land Systems, stated: “In 2022-era austere environments of conflict, today taking place both external to and within any given country’s borders, there is an increasing demand for outstanding levels of situational awareness on the battlefield. It is critical for crewmembers carrying out a myriad of assignments such as reconnaissance, border patrol and peacekeeping, to have the ability to observe, orient, decide and engage in time-sensitive scenarios with greater efficiency and mission survivability than ever before”.

Vegvisir is being developed in line with NATO military standards and is also being integrated within other platforms used on the battlefield, including unmanned land vehicles, stand-alone sensors, and battlefield management systems. The Vegvisir system also has the potential to be used for training activities and simulations for mechanized infantry, Paramount said.

Ingvar Pärnamäe, Chief Executive Officer of Defensphere OU, stated that “Vegvisir and technologies like it offer today critical actionable intelligence to help decision-makers on and off the field of combat, to have all the information and understanding that they would need to reach sound conclusions, those often executed on-the-fly. We are pleased to partner with Paramount Group in deploying our situational awareness and sighting technology within its fleet of advanced armoured land vehicles.”

Augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality solutions are becoming mainstream as higher-resolution graphics, head-mounted displays and improved computing power come to the fore. The idea behind virtual reality is to simulate the different senses like hearing, vision, and even touch sometimes to bring users to a whole new world, virtually.

Augmented reality (AR) involves digital information brought into a user’s field of view and overlaid onto the real world, which they observe typically through glasses/helmet mounted displays, such as the Microsoft HoloLens, Google Glass or Meta 2, or a smartphone camera. Similarly, mixed reality (MR) is an extension of augmented reality that allows virtual and real elements to interact – for example using a real tool to change a virtual aircraft part, or in Paramount’s case, provide ‘through the wall’ visibility of the battlefield while crew remain inside their vehicle.

Vegvisir creates a 360-degree field of vision with a camera and sensor system installed on the armoured vehicle that allows the entire crew to see a real-time, simultaneous, minimum-latency image of the surroundings of the vehicle. It combines four complementary layers of sensors to ensure visibility in a range of tactical situations, both in daylight and, by using thermal sensors, in the dark. Defensphere expects to bring Vegvisir to market by 2023. The start-up initially raised €550 000 from investors in four European countries, valuing the company at more than €5 million. Established in 2001, Defensphere plans to hold a second round of funding in 2022 with the aim of growing its engineering and sales team.