Non-Mechanical LADAR for Improving The Helicopter Pilot's Situational Awareness in Reduced Visual Cue Environments

Award Information
Agency:
Department of Defense
Branch
Navy
Amount:
$79,995.00
Award Year:
2008
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase I
Contract:
N68335-08-C-0444
Award Id:
87726
Agency Tracking Number:
N082-138-0874
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 2607, Winnetka, CA, 91396
Hubzone Owned:
N
Minority Owned:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
082191198
Principal Investigator:
James Murray
Corporate Senior Scientist
(303) 651-6756
jmurray@arete.com
Business Contact:
David Kane
Vice President
(520) 571-8660
dkane@arete.com
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
One of the major technical challenges of modern military and commercial rotary wing aviation is effective instrument aided navigation in brownout or whiteout conditions that can occur during landing or maneuvering in sandy, dusty, snowy or marine environments. Helicopter prop-wash churns up dense clouds of airborne particles that impede visibility. These conditions can escalate into crashing descents, lateral drift rollovers and collisions with ground features or obstacles. According to a recent Aviation Week & Space Technology article, "brownout has been blamed on the loss of more than 20 helicopters and 50 lives since 2001." This illustrates a compelling need to develop and field in situ situational awareness sensors that can see through dust clouds and generate 3D terrain and obstacle maps of the landing zone in near real-time to provide active visual feedback to pilots during landing in brownout or whiteout conditions. Arete Associates and Vescent Photonics have teamed to provide a state-of-the-art dust penetrating laser radar (DUSPEN) technology to see-through brownout/whiteout conditions. Arete will marry its fiber laser based imaging lidar technology and our extensive experience in developing 3D imaging lidar systems for applications in highly turbid medium with a newly developed non-mechanical beam steering technology pioneered by Vescent Photonics. This combination of technologies and experience should result in a significant advancement in see-through situational awareness sensor technology.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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