Novel Smart Pan/Tilt/Zoom Sensor for Launch Range Video Surveillance
NASA has a pressing need for increasing the efficiency of launch range surveillance during mission launch operations. Difficulty in verifying a cleared range causes significant launch delay that may significantly affect the operation safety, cost and schedule. With the increase of workload on existing and/or newly-built spaceports, challenges in launch range clearance and surveillance call for new breakthrough in technologies to better serve for NASA's missions.
We propose this SBIR to develop a novel "Smart Pan/Tilt/Zoom Visible/IR Sensor" platform, dubbed Smart PTZ(TM), especially suited for detection, tracking, recognition, and identification of persons and objects that have intruded areas of the range that must be cleared in order to conduct safe launch operations.
Conventional optical sensors have limited field of views (FOV). They observe objects through a small solid angle. Simultaneous acquisition of target in panoramic view is not possible. Although optical amplification may provide detailed target image, detecting and tracking target(s) in a large area is difficult, resulting in lengthy search time, costly UAV maneuvers, low efficiency in verifying range clearance, even missing intruder due to limited FOV. Increasing FOV, however, is a double-edged sword that leads to a decreased spatial resolution, causing difficulties in target recognition and classification.
To resolve the simultaneous yet contradicting requirements on the FOV and image resolution for range surveillance applications, we propose a novel Smart PTZ sensor concept that meets both needs with unprecedented performance. By integrating both wide FOV sensor and agile PTZ sensor within a compact package, together with a set of intelligent video analysis algorithms, the Smart PTZ sensor would enable high performance target detection, tracking, recognition and classification, within a very large FOV (up to 360-degree) for NASA launch range clearance and surveillance.
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