Low-Light, Low Cost Passive Terrain Sensing

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N00014-14-P-1173
Agency Tracking Number: N141-077-0458
Amount: $79,804.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2014
Solicitation Year: 2014
Solicitation Topic Code: N141-077
Solicitation Number: 2014.1
Small Business Information
Near Earth Autonomy
5001 Baum Blvd. Suite 750, Pittsburgh, PA, 15213-
DUNS: 078391304
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Sanjiv Singh
 (412) 855-3675
Business Contact
 Marcel Bergerman
Title: COO
Phone: (412) 513-6110
Email: marcel@nearearth.aero
Research Institution
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.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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