Unmanned Systems Technology 038 l Skyeton Raybird-3 l Data storage l Sea-Kit X-Class USV l USVs insight l Spectronik PEM fuel cells l Blue White Robotics UVIO l Antennas l AUVSI Xponential Virtual 2021 report

18 F or any camera-equipped unmanned system operating at the end of a low-bandwidth comms link, light, compact and power-efficient video coder- decoders (codecs) that can squeeze the maximum of information into the minimum bandwidth are such vital pieces of equipment that to a large extent they dictate how useful the vehicle can be for a given application. Richard Bernard is responsible for managing video-codec-based products at Paris-based VITEC for applications ranging from the military and industry to broadcast media. For Bernard, a large part of the satisfaction in doing so comes from the visible nature of the results. “When you create products linked to video, you can sense what you do. It is very tangible work,” he says. Worldwide, the consumption of video accounts for 70-80% of comms bandwidth. “So compression obviously matters.” We spoke with him about a new project the company is working on that involves hardware codecs used in ROV systems intended to be controlled from shore- based facilities over satellite links. This is a concept that is gaining momentum in the offshore oil & gas industry, and which puts bandwidth efficiency at a premium because high-bandwidth links cannot be guaranteed everywhere in the world. Influences, education and internships As a child, Bernard was turned on to engineering by his mechanic father. At secondary school he focused on physics and mathematics, taking up electronics and computers in his spare time. A stint at preparatory school qualified him for the ESIEE in Paris, where he earned a degree in electronics. During an internship at Texas Instruments he learned about design, testing and evaluation of RF integrated circuits, while in a subsequent placement with Airbus he was responsible for designing the A380 airliner’s throttle control logic. VITEC’s senior product manager explains the company’s approach to designing video codecs for unmanned systems. By Peter Donaldson Code words June/July 2021 | Unmanned Systems Technology VITEC’s hardware encoders aboard a support ship compress ROV video for transmission via satellite, supporting remote control of the unmanned vehicle from one remote location ashore and, if required, viewing of the imagery at another (Courtesy of VITEC)