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Multi-Platform 3-D Radiation Mapping with Enhanced Sensor Data Fusion and Visualization


TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Air Platform, Chem Bio_defense, Info Systems, Ground Sea, Sensors, Electronics, Battlespace, Human Systems, Nuclear 

OBJECTIVE: To develop a radiological mapping and characterization system that extends the range of a single sensor platform by deploying and fusing data from multiple sensor platforms to enable rapid, large-area 3-D radiation detection and contamination assessment capabilities. Proposed systems must provide accurate 3-D radiation maps over large areas efficiently. Systems need to be able to detect, identify, and map gamma-ray and neutron sources over a wide range of dose rate environments. The systems must be able to determine the 3-D ground dose rate and airborne contamination for nuclear battlefield environment in real-time. The systems must provide improved battlefield situation awareness of radiation threats through 3-D spatial visualization solutions that fuse data from multiple sensor platforms, including new (such as the 3D SDF) and any deployed RADIAC systems to provide Warfighters with enhanced survey and route reconnaissance capabilities. 

DESCRIPTION: The defense community has a need to increase the effectiveness, speed, and accuracy in the mapping of radiological and nuclear materials over large areas in the context of potential structural and battlefield damage while minimizing the risks to Warfighters. 3-D mapping and data fusion technologies are required that can be deployed on a range of manned and unmanned ground and aerial vehicles to maximize the speed and accuracy in searching and mapping complex environments. Of particular interest is the deployment of small unmanned aerial platforms which avoid contamination of Warfighters and equipment and enable much faster and unhindered operation to map or search even complex environments as found after a radiological or nuclear event. 3-D mapping and radiation data fusion technologies have been demonstrated in mobile operations on single hand-portable and manned or unmanned ground and aerial vehicles illustrating the advantages over conventional means of radiation mapping. The nuclear data fused with scene data in 3-D provides not only effective means to inform emergency response and consequence management, it also provides accurate assessment of infrastructure and structural damage simultaneously. Such platforms can be envisioned to eventually deploy not only radiation detection and imaging instruments but also other sensors such as chemical, biological, and explosive sensors to provide multi-sensor, multi-modality maps. In addition, the current deployed military RADIAC systems provide Warfighters with isolated radiation measurements from one given perspective at a time. This fails to provide a fused 3-D spatial representation of threats as they appear in the scene of operation. Combining the data from multiple RADIAC kits, and new categories of sensors and fusing the data to be visualized in a 3-D space will provide the end-users with an enhanced vision of scenes in survey and route reconnaissance missions. This will enable Warfighters to better assess threats environment and provide up to the minute detailed models of the changing battlefield conditions for faster response time and lower exposure, significantly reduce the amount of interpretation and interpolation of radiological threats from multiple sources. This topic seeks innovative hardware and/or software solutions to enable the deployment of multiple 3-D radiation mapping platforms and the integration of the data to create global and large-area maps. These platforms could be any combination of ground-based and aerial vehicles equipped with radiation detection and/or imaging instruments. Of particular interest is the deployment of multiple aerial platforms as they maximize the achievable coverage in the shortest possible time. Proposed solutions must be capable of detecting and mapping gamma-ray and neutron emitting sources, providing 3-D radiation maps with better than 1-meter spatial resolution. In addition, the ability to provide maps of the concentrations of various radioisotopes with energies range from 50 keV to 3 MeV is required. Data analytics for nuclear battlefield, such as radiation contour map, dose calculations, lowest risk paths, and time versus exposure metrics, should be explored. Data products reflecting 3-D fused radiation maps need to be available for remote observation and in real-time via situational awareness tools, such as MFK/TAK. The software solution must allow for extensibility, where both new and deployed RADIAC systems can be integrated into the data stream. 

PHASE I: Develop and define the software architecture for data processing and integration, and demonstrate feasibility for the operation of multiple platforms. Create software design specifications including block diagrams and interface specifications, and integration with existing situational awareness tools, such as MFK/TAK. Perform measurements with single platform to demonstrate data fusion technologies to map and visualize radiation maps in 3-D and in real time. Utilize data from single platform and associated local maps to develop software prototype and demonstrate the feasibility to integrate data from multiple platforms resulting in integrated and global maps. Demonstrate feasibility to detect and discriminate gamma-rays and neutrons. 

PHASE II: Deliver a multi-platform system that is capable of providing global 3-D maps based on the integration of local maps from each platform and reflecting fused structural and radiation maps. At least one of the platforms is required to be an unmanned aerial system. Leverage the findings of the initial phase to implement the best data integration approach. Gamma-ray and neutron-specific global maps need to be presented on a situation awareness tools, such as MFK/TAK. More specifically, radioisotope maps need to be displayed based on the energy measurements of the gamma-rays. The system needs to be able to produce maps in nuclear battlefield environment with dose rates ranging from a few µSv/hr to >10 Sv/hr and for durations of up to 30 min covering an area of > 100,000 m2. Develop a prototype solution that demonstrates the ability to fuse multiple sensor platform data into a 3-D scene and visualize it in real time. The prototype system will be tested in a relevant environment, in order to demonstrate accurate mapping of gamma-ray and neutron emission fields from at least two platforms, one of which needs to be an unmanned aerial platform. The results will be evaluated to determine the ability of the proposed solution to satisfy requirements for military use in the field. During this phase, DoD end-user group(s) will be identified to begin engagement with. Discussions with the end -users will inform the transition plan for Phase III. 

PHASE III: Following a successful Phase II development and demonstration, Phase III will further improve system design, visualization capability, engineering, ruggedization, scalability, manufacturability, and maturation to meet DTRA and end-user requirements, including the development of a plan to enable successful technology transition at the end of this phase. Develop commercial system to integrate multiple systems providing 3-D mapping and visualization capabilities for wide range of applications, enhancing the tool set of Warfighters while minimizing the exposure to risks. 


1: G. Knoll, Radiation Detection and Measurement. John Wiley & Sons, 2010.

2:  K. Vetter, R. Barnowski, R. Cooper, T. Joshi, A. Haefner, B. Quiter, R. Pavlovsky, "Gamma-Ray Imaging for Nuclear Security and Safety: Towards 3D Gamma-Ray Vision", Nucl. Instr. Meth. A. 878 (2018) 159.

3:  A. Haefner, R. Barnowski, M. Amman, J. Lee, P. Luke, L. Mihailescu, K. Vetter, "Handheld Real-time Volumetric 3-D Gamma-ray imaging", Nucl. Instr. Meth. Nucl. Instr. Meth. A. 857 (2017) 42.

4:  K. Vetter, A. Haefner, R. Barnowski, R. Pavlovsky, T. Torii, Y. Sanada, Y. Shikaze, "Advanced Concepts in Multi-Dimensional Radiation Detection and Imaging", Japan Physical Society Conference Proceedings JPS Conf. Proc 11 (2016) 070000-1.

5:  R. Barnowski, A. Haefner, L. Mihailescu, K. Vetter, "Scene Data Fusion: Enabling Real-Time Volumetric Gamma-Ray Imaging", Nucl. Instr. Meth. A. 800 (2015) 65.

6:  R. Pavlovsky, A. Haefner, T.H. Joshi, V. Negut, K. McManus, E. Suzuki, R. Barnowski, K. Vetter, "3-D Radiation Mapping in Real-Time with the Localization and Mapping Platform LAMP from Unmanned Aerial Systems and Man-Portable Configurations", To be submitted to Nucl. Instr. Meth. A.

KEYWORDS: Radiation Detection, Data Fusion, 3-D Mapping, Real-time, Multi-platform Systems, Neutron/gamma Radiation Detection And Mapping 

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