A 3D imaging and Polarimetric Lidar Applicable to Mini/Micro UAV's

Period of Performance: 02/04/2005 - 06/30/2011

$1.25MM

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sigma Space Corp.
4600 Forbes Blvd.
Lanham, MD 20706
Principal Investigator

Abstract

Unmanned aerial surveillance requires large scale deployment of UAV based 3D lidar imagers. Although lidars and altimeters have been designed for science instruments on aircraft based operations, none so far have demonstrated a wide swath 3D imaging lidar suitable for use on a UAV platform. Sigma Space has demonstrated significant advances in the area of 3D imaging, using a recently developed photon-counting lidar. This proposal builds on the feasibility of the 3D lidar instrument, established in Phase I, and presents the design concept of an engineering prototype to be built and tested in the Phase II effort. We leverage the enhancements of the first successful photon-counting airborne microchip laser altimeter, under NASA s Instrument Incubator Program that has successfully demonstrated single photon topographic mapping in broad daylight with a low-power (7 mW) microchip laser from an altitude of 6.7 km. The Phase II instrument package is being designed for UAV deployment with adaptability towards Mini-UAV systems.