Microsoft partners with aerospace firm for automated satellite image processing


TAS’s DeeperVision can automatically detect how features evolve over time and monitor areas of interest, such as changes, anomalies and similarities. It allows users to focus on the relevant content of imagery, where human expertise is vital.

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Microsoft and aerospace firm Thales Alenia Space (TAS) are collaborating to bring the latter’s automated image processing solution to Microsoft’s Azure Orbital platform. Using TAS’s DeeperVision, all images downlinked by Earth observation satellites can be immediately and systematically analysed as soon as they are produced, the aerospace company said in a release.

“Processing space satellite imagery at cloud-scale changes the game for our customers who need these AI/ML data insights to quickly make informed decisions for mission success,” Tom Keane, CVP of Azure Global at Microsoft, said in a release.

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Introduced last year, Microsoft’s Azure Orbital is a ground station service that allows satellite operators to communicate to and control their satellites, process data, and scale operations directly in Azure.

The software firm’s first Azure Orbital ground station is coming up in its datacentre at Quincy, Washington. Keane noted that Microsoft is currently deploying multiple satellite ground stations in its datacentres that enable a variety of scenarios, including Earth observation, remote sensing, and global communications.

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In collaboration with several customers and partners including TAS, Microsoft is working on signal processing, data processing, and geospatial data analytics, he further added.

TAS’s DeeperVision can automatically detect how features evolve over time and monitor areas of interest, such as changes, anomalies and similarities. It allows users to focus on the relevant content of imagery, where human expertise is vital.

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“Customers can now combine all the functionality of Thales Alenia Space’s DeeperVision solution for processing dataflows and generating timely information with the cloud capabilities of Azure Orbital,” Clarence Duflocq, VP Strategy & Innovation at TAS, said in a release. “This information is enriched by high-speed, high-volume artificial intelligence and machine learning to create an unprecedented impact on and beyond the planet!”

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