The expertise pole Signal and Image Centre (SIC) is the research group of the Department of Communications, Information, Systems and Sensors (CISS) of the Faculty of Applied Sciences of the Royal Military Academy.

The Signal and Image Centre wants to be a Centre of Excellence for education and research within the Royal Military Academy in the acquisition, processing, transfer and decision technologies in order to serve both the Defense and the Society.

We do so by processing and analyzing the whole acquisition chain from sensor over signal to image until the decision process based on fusion of data

The SIC develops its expertise and knowledge by initiating and participating in applied and academic research projects. Therefore we are continuously looking for new applications which sustain the academic and research activities of the department.

The Signal and Image Centre has its origins in the Chair of Electrical Engineering (presently integrated in the Department CISS) of the Royal Military Academy in 1989. The Centre was created at the initiative of Prof Dr ir em Marc Acheroy. Its initial focus included image compression and restoration methods, pattern recognition, remote sensing and data fusion. These domains still have a strong foothold in the current research pole.

Research overview

The SIC develops a high-level expertise in C4I systems (Command, Control, Communication, Computers & Information). The research focuses on the processing of data recorded from a wide area of sensors (radar signals, images, navigation signals, …). The interpretation and fusion of sensor data leads towards an analysis of a specific threat or scenario. Specific visualization based on an intelligent parsing of the obtained information is communicated towards the command centre, where a decision is taken and executed. The build up expertise of the research pole is applied in both security and Defense related problems.

In signal processing, the SIC specializes in the processing of radar, sonar, infrared, hyperspectral, terahertz and navigation signals. In remote sensing, the research activities of SIC are mainly dedicated to the enhancement of the processing tools of the Belgian Geographical Institute (NGI) and of the GEO division of the Belgian Defense. They concern change detection for the updating of maps, the 3-D reconstruction and the vectorization of maps needed for the preparation of missions abroad. Image processing is performed in applications such as detecting small floating objects from a vessel as well as non-cooperative detection of the vessels itself in open sea. The modeling activities include the modeling of the electromagnetic and infrared signatures of ships. The hyperspectral data processing concerns the detection and the identification of pollutant gasses and the characterization of the materials contributing to the land cover. The processing of the polarimetric and interferometric SAR data, combined with multispectral and hyperspectral data, allows, after a data fusion process accounting with context information, eg. to characterize better the land cover. In crisis management, SIC develops management methods in complex environments including the implementation of multisensor and multiprocessor systems. The concerned applications include humanitarian demining and catastrophe management. SIC is active in a specific application domain of terahertz waves which consists of investigating the potential of developing a fast, high resolution, non-invasive and non-contact inspection system for assessing aeronautic composite parts during production. At the same time, the propagation of THz waves in highly diffusing materials is under investigation at a fundamental level. Information Security ensures the protection of data and the reliance on communications based on interconnected computer infrastructure which is crucial for security and military applications. Satellite navigation systems combined with low cost off the shelf sensors provide real-time positioning and navigation capabilities which become ever more important for conducting military or security related operations.