The immediate NASA application of PathIn is for Ka-band interferometry to provide 3D platform-relative mapping over a relevant field of view in support of safe UAS operation in the national airspace and also piloted operation during limited low visibility conditions (i.e. fog, drizzle, etc.). The PathIn Ka-band radar interferometer electronic vision systems would complement existing synthetic vision and automated ground-collision avoidance systems.
In the commercial space, the need for landing systems to assist pilots in low visibility conditions is great. The NEXTGEN project and emphasis on improving airport runway utilization along with the savings in costs from aborted landings or delayed landings have combined to prompt the FAA to seek improvements in aircraft based systems to assist in this manner. A PathIn based 2D and 3D Electronic Flight Vision System (EFVS) would provide the measurements or imagery necessary to validate aircraft and runway location as well as hazard detection. Its integration into a Heads Up Display (HUD), showing anomalies detected with comparisons to the DEMs would provide Synthetic Vision Systems (SVS) with the verification and detection needed. Eventually, a PathIn based sensor could meet the FAA certification requirements to allow zero-zero (aircraft touchdown in zero visibility conditions) landing in the near future.