Situational awareness is an understanding of what is happening around us. It supports decision-making and foresight based on real-time observation and the combination of different information sources. At VTT, we help our customers to bring that comprehension to environments and situations where decisions need to happen.
Key facts about situational awareness
Situational awareness is needed as automation and autonomous systems and remote operations become more common.
Many different sectors can benefit from situational awareness, including agriculture, forestry, transport, manufacturing, defence and public authorities.
VTT has solid experience in situational awareness. Thanks to our diverse pool of experts, we have a broad and deep understanding of the requirements of different fields.
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Autonomous machines need situational awareness
Imagine an everyday situation: it's raining, and you're walking down the street. You notice a big puddle in front of you and immediately take a few steps to the side to avoid stepping in it – without even thinking about it. We constantly observe our environment with our different senses and act on our perceptions. This is an example of human situational awareness.
Autonomous machines are becoming more common with the development of intelligent technology and automation. They also need to build situational awareness to be able to operate among humans. For example, a grocery delivery robot or an autonomous car needs to constantly gather cues about everything going on around it to be able to navigate in traffic. It uses various sensors attached to it or drones and information from other robots.
The information gathered by sensors helps a self-driving car or a delivery robot to drive safely. A drone – an example of a moving sensor – can collect information about the movement of crowds, for example.
Situational awareness serves countless different fields and protects lives
Situational awareness can be used versatilely in various applications, such as autonomous traffic, remotely controlled smart devices and other operational areas that involve robotics or automation of functions. Numerous sectors benefit from situational awareness: agriculture, forest industry, shipping, transport sector, defence forces, and various authorities. Operations can be made more efficient by utilising satellite data.
Search operations for missing persons nowadays use thermal imaging drones or swarms of drones. With situational awareness guiding the drone swarm, the search is more efficient.
Thanks to situational awareness, missing persons are, on average, found faster and in better condition.
Efficient smart factories
Factory work benefits significantly from situational awareness. It enables the transition from simple robots working on production lines to intelligent ones. A smart factory, which operates automatically and uses sensors to monitor its own condition and production efficiency, communicates with the company's IT systems and can order components needed for production independently when it detects a need. The robots can move around the factory and bring the component to the production line at the right time.
Situational awareness helps automate various activities, saving time and streamlining processes.
Robots can also work in conditions that would be uncomfortable or even dangerous for humans.
We develop and tailor our solutions according to the customer's needs
VTT develops leading edge situational awareness technologies for demanding customers, covering overall architecture as well as technological key components. We can tailor solutions to any industrial domain and help customers in building future-proof systems.
VTT has solid expertise in situational awareness. Thanks to our experience and our diverse pool of experts, we understand the entire field, from hardware to service. We use AI-based automated data analytics. We process data from individual sensors and combine data gathered from different sensors. We can develop and tailor sensors and data analytics solutions to meet different customer needs. We understand connectivity and cybersecurity and can develop solutions for local and wide-area use. Our capabilities cover spectrum situational awareness and dynamic spectrum sharing systems.
VTT is developing autonomous mobility and flying applications
VTT is involved in multiple projects where we develop situational awareness technologies for different application fields. For example, in the FireMan project, which studies out-of-sight flying and drone swarms, data transmission and the production of real-time situational awareness in forest fire situations using remote sensing. In other words, monitoring and fighting forest fires using drones and artificial intelligence.
Case: Agentschap Telecom
VTT is helping to implement dynamic spectrum management pilot at the Schiphol Airport, Netherlands. The aim is to impact radio regulations and find how 3.8-4.2 GHz band and local 5G networks could be used across Europe to support aviation, shipping industry and port area needs. Spectrum situational awareness enables interference-free operation and protection of the satellite Earth stations operating in the same band.
We have several projects on remote sensing focusing on forestry applications. We are hosting FTEP platform that is an online solution to improve forestry management via use of Earth observation and auxiliary datasets.
Meet our experts
Meet our world-class experts in situational awareness! From state-of-the art sensors to positioning and seamless connectivity, our experts can help you to find solutions to benefit your business.
Prof. Höyhtyä has been working for almost 20 years on connectivity technology development both for terrestrial and satellite networks. He has led several European Space Agency (ESA) projects as well as prepared a joint vision with ESA for 5G and Beyond networks. He has solid background on autonomous systems, especially in maritime domain and is actively developing situational awareness technologies for industrial needs. He is an associate professor (docent) at the National Defence University of Finland as well as at the University of Oulu.
Sauli Eloranta is currently the Vice President of VTT’s Safe and Connected society research area, developing situational awareness solutions for safety-critical systems. The work covers sensor fusion, advanced connectivity, and cybersecurity aspects. He has an extensive background in maritime industry where he was involved in development of world’s first autonomous shipping trials. Eloranta earned the CTO of the Year title granted by the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries for his merits as an active influencer in the Finnish innovation scene and promotor of autonomous marine traffic in 2019.
How to work with us
There are many ways to utilise our expertise in situational awareness.
Tell us what you want to do, and we will figure out how to do it. No project is too small or too ambitious – we would love to hear from you. After the initial assessment, we might be able to offer some of these options.
Every research case is unique, and we’re happy to tailor our services to your needs. You will get full ownership of the intellectual property rights of any project we undertake together.
We frequently participate in research and development projects with multiple business partners and funding agencies. In cooperative projects, the risk is split between multiple organisations and everyone benefits from the results.
Our networks at your disposal
We are happy to put you in touch with the ideal sparring and development partner.