Path Optimizing Air Current LADAR (POACL)

Period of Performance: 06/29/2012 - 12/28/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Systems & Processes Engineering Corp
7050 Burleson Road
Austin , TX 78744
Principal Investigator


Systems & Processes Engineering Corporation (SPEC) and Texas A&M University (TAMU) propose a Path Optimized Air Current LADAR whose sensor is composed of SPEC Gen IV LADAR seeker modified for coherent Doppler operation allowing air current Doppler detection beyond 3km in 3D pixels (voxels) in a 90 degree cone. This feeds an algorithm package which determines the optimal flight path to avoid bad conditions and takes advantage of lift and wind direction to minimize fuel consumption. A critical element of the proposed atmospheric energy extraction system is a flight control algorithm that can successfully maneuver the aircraft to exploit energy sources. The energy sources are vertical uplifts, wind direction, wind gradients and transient gusts. The Gen IV LADAR features 2 inch aperture, deep waveform capture capability and pipeline processing for real time image output. Fully miniaturized the Doppler LADAR will be 3.5 inches diameter by 9.5 inches long. The LADAR includes MEMS IMU, image comparison and GPS inputs to obtain global stabilized 3D image, allowing coherent update of voxels over a second, necessary for detection low speed air currents and determining the vector direction of the air current using changing view angle during flight.