Low-Light, Low Cost Passive Terrain Sensing
Helicopter flight in support of military operations is often conducted at night under low light conditions, where loss of situational awareness can lead to accidents such as controlled flight into terrain (CFIT). Current terrain sensing systems used to aid pilots in maintaining situational awareness use active sensors, such as millimeter-wave radar and flash or scanning ladar, but active sensors pose a signature risk in threat environments. To address the trade-off between enhancing situational awareness and reducing the electronic threat signature, Near Earth Autonomy (NEA) proposes to develop passive terrain sensing explicitly for use in low-light conditions. The technology, which will be applicable to both manned and unmanned flight, will consider a variety of imaging solutions customized for use in low-light situations. Special consideration will be made for cost since the objective is to develop both low-cost and high performance sensing systems. After a trade-off analyzing the capabilities of existing sensors, NEA will identify design points appropriate to micro, small and full-scale helicopter UAVs. NEA will develop a design concept using the low-light sensors coupled with machine vision algorithms. The effort will culminate in a breadboard demonstration of the resulting design that will produce accurate real-time terrain data.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Near Earth Autonomy
5001 Baum Blvd. Suite 750 Pittsburgh, PA -
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