Sense-and-Avoid Postern Insect Eye/Neuromorphic Sensor System

Award Information
Department of Defense
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
Physical Optics Corporation
Electro-Optics Systems Division, 1845 West 205th Street, Torrance, CA, -
Hubzone Owned:
Minority Owned:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
Ofir Garcia-Salazar
Research Scientist
(310) 320-3088
Business Contact:
Gordon Drew
Chief Financial Officer
(310) 320-3088
Research Institution:
ABSTRACT: Addressing the Air Force"s need for a rear-looking sense-and-avoid (SAA) system enabling remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to perform real-time reporting of mid-air-collision (MAC) threats, Physical Optics Corporation (POC) proposes to develop a new SAA Postern Insect Eye/Neuromorphic (SAPIEN) sensor system. SAPIEN is an electro-optical sensor for non-cooperative SAA based on the unique combination of multi-aperture superposition compound eyes with a high-sensitivity, compact IR laser ranger, photo-detector array, and a custom algorithm to detect and locate obstacles with high angular resolution. The innovative use of multi-aperture infrared signal data processing will enable SAPIEN to warn of impending MACs. The result is a commercially viable design in the postern field of view providing detection, localization independent of forward looking SAA, airframe vibration and exhaust hindering mitigation, collision hazard recognition, attitude, heading, airspeed estimation, timed warning, day/night operation while minimizing cost, size, weight, and power of Group 2-4 RPA. In Phase I, POC will identify and determine requirements, candidate architecture, equipment and components. Feasibility will be established through modeling and simulation and laboratory prototype testing. In Phase II, POC plans to finalize the SAPIEN architecture, validate models, and mature algorithms prior to fabricating and testing a prototype SAPIEN system in a relevant environment. BENEFIT: Recent (1991-2000) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) statistics indicate that most (80%) mid-air collisions (MACs) occur when one aircraft overtakes another from the rear hemisphere (postern collision). Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) are no longer limited to intelligence and military operations outside FAA regulated airspace. Unmanned aircraft are making their way into commercial arenas like aerial photography, land surveying, and crop monitoring. Additionally, RPAs fly slower, and MACs are expected to rise. When the regulations governing UAV flight in National Airspace (NAS) are in place in 2015, the demand for reliable autonomous postern see-and-avoid systems will surge. Because of its compact size, lightweight, and low cost, the SAPIEN system can be installed in small, remotely controlled aerial vehicles for applications such as police surveillance and traffic control. Its low cost will also make it suitable for collision avoidance in automobiles and boats.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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