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Combining SAR and LiDAR for Advanced IED Detection and ISR Applications

Award Information

Department of Defense
Air Force
Award ID:
Program Year/Program:
2010 / SBIR
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
AF 09-139
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
445 Dead Indian Memorial Rd Ashland, OR -
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Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No
Phase 1
Fiscal Year: 2010
Title: Combining SAR and LiDAR for Advanced IED Detection and ISR Applications
Agency / Branch: DOD / USAF
Contract: FA8650-10-M-1814
Award Amount: $99,054.00


Sky Research, Inc. proposes to advance present capabilities for Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detection and other Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) detection needs though the explicit integration of Ultra-High Frequency (UHF) synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technologies. LiDAR and SAR bring separate and compatible detection capabilities to IED detection applications that can be used together to enhance overall capability. The proposed approach uses SAR as the primary detection sensor and LIDAR as a support sensor providing micro-topographic and vegetation context. SAR in the UHF band is a mature and well-tested technology. The SkySAR UHF radar has been demonstrated to have several highly useful capabilities for ISR objectives including vehicle target detection, facility mapping, and thin wire detection. Meanwhile, LiDAR is particularly useful at distinguishing very small features in micro-topography, which provides a strong support tool in the corroboration of target information extracted from SAR. The integration of SAR and LIDAR will provide the Air Force the following specific benefits: increased Probability of detection and decreased False Alarm Rate of IED targets; decreased complexity of the image exploitation process and decreased time to actionable data; and increased range of applicability of UHF SAR detection applications. BENEFIT: Sky Research proposes to integrate SAR and LiDAR technologies to exploit extensive and existing sensor, platform, processing, and exploitation capabilities to quickly produce tangible, significant and enhanced capabilities to the warfighter.This approach is based on the strong track record of SkySAR to detect thin wires, surface IEDs and shallow buried IEDs. This robust radar technology is ideally suited for many IED target detection applications. LIDAR will be used to augment direct detection for targets where topographic relief is present. However, the main use of LiDAR is to provide the contextual backdrop for SkySAR, as LIDAR can readily produce high-resolution, geo-referenced digital terrain surfaces, bare earth model, and vegetation models. These LIDAR products support and extend SAR detection rates, reduce false alarm rates, and simplify and accelerate the data exploitation process. Therefore, it is anticipated that the proposed research will advance airborne target detection for various IED threats and other intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) applications in open areas, urban areas, under foliage, day or night, within and along roadways. Specific features of the proposed integrated technology include: enhanced target detection and false alarm rejection; decreased time to targets; improved coherent change detection and integrated image processing methods; area reduction through cued interrogation and high resolution terrain and structure modeling; improved digital terrain models and urban scene generation; and improved SAR imagery assisted by LiDAR-derived, high-fidelity digital elevation models.

Principal Investigator:

Douglas Howard
Senior Engineer

Business Contact:

Jack Foley
VP Technology
Small Business Information at Submission:

Sky Research, Inc
445 Dead Indian Memorial Rd Ashland, OR 97520

EIN/Tax ID: 931168350
Number of Employees:
Woman-Owned: No
Minority-Owned: No
HUBZone-Owned: No