Ultra-Compact Doppler LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) for Unmanned Aerial/Ground Vehicles

Period of Performance: 12/01/2003 - 05/31/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Technologies, Inc.
135 S. Taylor Avenue,
Louisville, CO 80027
Principal Investigator


The rapid development UAVs and UGVs for the Future Combat System is producing requirements for remote sensing of volumetric winds and wind hazards such as wind shear, gusts, and clear air turbulence for safe and efficient vehicle operation. Mission specific parameters such as aerosol plume detection and tracking, terrain mapping, and helicopter rotor turbulence detection must also be measured. The UAV/UGV operating environment requires any operational sensor to be optimally compact, light-weight, and have low power consumption. In Phase I, CTI will develop requirements, specifications, and a system design for a UAV/UGV coherent Doppler Lidar system, focusing on modularity, compact size, and low power consumption. CTI will then leverage from previous work to demonstrate a novel agile-pulse laser technology, with electronic switching between a short-pulse mode for high-resolution terrain mapping with a 10-ns pulsewidth, to a long-pulse mode for wind sensing with pulsewidth electronically adjustable in the range 100 to 400 ns. This agile-pulse capability will allow a single laser to be electronically configured for optimal measurement of a parameter. In Phase I, CTI will also demonstrate a unique proprietary lidar cavity, which will allow small, light-weight, reliable, and rugged transceivers to be built. The agile-pulse laser and the cavity architecture will form the foundation for the ultra-compact Doppler lidar for UAV/UGV. In Phase II, the design for a prototype sensor will be completed. The prototype sensor will then be fabricated, tested, and a performance analysis conducted.