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

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Navy
Contract: N68335-08-C-0444
Agency Tracking Number: N082-138-0874
Amount: $79,995.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2008
Solicitation Year: 2008
Solicitation Topic Code: N08-138
Solicitation Number: 2008.2
Small Business Information
ARETE ASSOC.
P.O. Box 2607, Winnetka, CA, 91396
DUNS: 082191198
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 James Murray
 Corporate Senior Scientist
 (303) 651-6756
 jmurray@arete.com
Business Contact
 David Kane
Title: Vice President
Phone: (520) 571-8660
Email: 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. Areté 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. Areté 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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