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Dstl releases open source tracking software



The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has made a new open source software framework available to help improve tracking technology.

Named Stone Soup, it has been developed by the Five-Eyes international intelligence alliance and led by Dstl, the government executive agency that promotes science and technology in the fields of defence and security.

It said the software framework has uses beyond defence, such as in drone surveillance and management and the development of connected autonomous vehicles.

Stone Soup makes it possible to compare different tracking algorithms against realistic data and allows for a modular approach to plugging in code components. Users can then model a range of outcomes, which can be measured on how they improve survivability, safety, or operational effectiveness.

Dstl said it will encourage other algorithm developers or tracking practitioners to insert their new components, which can then be compared alongside accepted or state-of-the-art algorithms to help developers evaluate them against standard datasets.

Alternatively, private sector bodies can insert their own data into the framework and run this against the standard suite of tracking algorithms it contains.

It is hoped that this could lead to better tracking capabilities for a range of difficult problems such as following a swarm of fast drones, tracking space clutter around the International Space Station or understanding the movements of seagoing vessels.

High impact

Professor Paul Thomas, a senior principal scientist at Dstl, said: “We are really excited to be making Stone Soup available to other tracking practitioners giving us the potential to be high impact in multiple communities. It’s a standard platform for tracking algorithm development, and for testing and benchmarking, which will be a huge benefit for the academic and defence community.”

He added: “It’s an accelerated learning aid for people who are just coming into this area too. Before this, it could have taken months, even years, to learn the detailed mathematics of tracking.”

The software is free and available on Github.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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