The Phased Array Terrain Interferometer (PathIn): A New Sensor for UAS Synthetic Vision and Ground Collision Avoidance

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: NNX13CL18P
Agency Tracking Number: 125657
Amount: $124,252.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2013
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: A2.01
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
MA, Barnstable, MA, 02630-1105
DUNS: 133087192
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Delwyn Moller
 Senior Systems Engineer
 (626) 602-6186
Business Contact
 James Canniff
Title: Business Official
Phone: (508) 362-9400
Research Institution
This proposal introduces an innovative sensor concept for the mitigation of aircraft hazards due to reduced visibility in fog, drizzle and light rain and the detection of hazards/obstacles on runways. Specifically, this effort will build upon a developing synthetic vision system for landing piloted aircraft to: 1) customize the design and feasibility for targeted unpiloted autonomous systems (UAS), and 2) incorporate interferometry for terrain mapping and hazard detection.Dubbed "PathIn", the proposed sensor is comprised of a Ka-band digitally beamformed (DBF) radar interferometer that will serve as a complement to existing infrared (IR) and near-IR enhanced visualization systems and provide a real-time data interface for ground-collision avoidance systems. The proposed effort is aligned with the effort to integrate UAS into the National Airspace (NAS). The Phase 1 effort will assess the PathIn performance for sample UAS flight scenarios over variable terrain using a high-fidelity point target simulator to provide synthetic digital surface maps and obstacle detections. This will demonstrate the potential of the PathIn as a technology that can contribute toward safe UAS operation in the NAS and in the terminal area.In Phase II we will realize a prototype of the PathIn sensor, leveraging our extensive radar, interferometry and DBF experience and key technology capabilities. In particular a FPGA-based digital receiver system will be extended for real-time beamforming and interferometry. At the end of the Phase I, a technology readiness level of 3 will be achieved.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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