Real Time Sensor Image Fusion

Period of Performance: 05/24/2002 - 02/24/2003

$99.7K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Max-viz, Inc.
16165 SW 72
Portland, OR 97224
Principal Investigator

Abstract

We propose a flexible, very-high performance sensor/data fusion and ground-map correlation processor for Enhanced Vision Systems. The approach utilizes adaptive-system architecture, with algorithms that are realized through an associative, self-organizing neural net implementation. The low cost emulation of this highly parallel network will utilize dynamically programmable, FPGA-based accelerator modules; this approach also removes the processor-memory bottleneck that typically limits high-speed processor performance. The architecture includes preprocessing tailored to individual sensors on a local-area image basis. The geometric representation and registration operations retain the respective high-content data regions from disparate sensor types; an important example is in fusion of an infrared camera (azimuth-elevation data) with imaging mmw radar (range-azimuth data). Adaptive features, which range from threshold adjustments to statistical calculations, are realized through selective feedback loops from the processor output. The sensor/database correlation capability provides ground-map navigation update and hazard recognition. The fusion and correlation functionality provide the required flexibility for advanced avionics/EVS system integration. The ultimate result of such evolution will be a dual use, multi-imager EVS suite, with optimally integrated database, and such added sensors as DGPS, EGPWS, ADS-B, and TCAS. The anticipated benefits of this research will be to provide a powerful but practical processing system for Enhanced Vision Systems. This will afford the real-time, multisensor fusion and ground-map database correlation computations required in such systems. Enhanced Vision is on the threshold of widespread acceptance for obscured-visibility flight operations, including approach/landing and takeoff as well as general safety enhancements.. The potential commercial and dual-use applications include major and regional airline transports, package carriers, military transports, and business and mid/upper level General Aviation aircraft.