Maxar CTO says Vricon acquisition 'enables a whole range of use cases'

By Marjorie Censer / August 31, 2020 at 11:06 AM

Maxar Technologies' chief technology officer said the company's new acquisition of Vricon will improve the company's three-dimensional view of the world.

In an interview with Inside Defense earlier this month, Walter Scott said Vricon allows Maxar "to build out the entire planet in three dimensions."

"That enables a whole range of use cases," he added. "Whether it's doing blockage analysis for telecon or generating synthetic training environments . . . that was the motivation. We're taking basically a 2D set of images and we're turning them into a 3D world."

Vricon was started in 2015 as a joint venture between Maxar and Saab and focuses on satellite-derived 3D data for defense and intelligence markets. Maxar said in July that it had completed its acquisition for about $140 million.

Before the acquisition, Vricon had what Maxar referred to as a "library card," providing access to a certain amount of imagery from Maxar, according to Scott. Now, Vricon has unrestricted access, which allows Maxar to "increase the scale and the velocity with which we're able to build things out," Scott said.

As an example, Scott said the Vricon technology will be useful on the Army's Prometheus program, which seeks to apply artificial intelligence for automated target recognition. Vricon, he said, adds elevation information.

"You bring all that together and what you have is the ability to support precision fires in a time-dominant fashion," he said.