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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

A Novel Smart Pan/Tilt/Zoom Visible/Infrared Sensor for UAV On-Board Video Surveillance of Launch Range, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

A Novel Smart Pan/Tilt/Zoom Visible/Infrared Sensor for UAV On-Board Video Surveillance of Launch Range, Phase I
NASA has a pressing need for increasing the efficiency of launch range surveillance during mission launch operations. Difficulty in verifying a cleared range causes significant launch delay that may significantly affect the operation safety, cost and schedule. We propose this SBIR to develop a novel "Smart Pan/Tilt/Zoom Visible/IR Sensor" platform, especially suited for detection, tracking, recognition, and identification of persons and objects that have intruded areas of the range that must be cleared in order to conduct safe launch operations. Conventional optical sensors have limited field of views (FOV). They observe objects through a small solid angle subtended in front of the sensor. Although the high optical amplification may provide high resolution image of a target, detecting and tracking potential target within a large area is difficult, resulting in lengthy search time, costly UAV maneuvers, low efficiency of verifying range clearance, even missing intruded target due to limited FOV. Increasing FOV, however, is a double-edged sword that, for any given sensor, leads to a decreased spatial resolution, causing difficulties in target recognition and classification. To address these contradicting requirements on FOV and resolution for range surveillance applications, we propose a novel Smart PTZ sensor concept with the following unique advantages: (1)Novel optical design of wide FOV optics, no blind spot, no image distortion; (2)Simultaneous wide FOV and zoomed high resolution images; (3)Smart PTZ target tracking; (4)Intelligent video analysis algorithms for automatic target detection and tracking; (5)Embedded on-board DSP processing module; (6)Novel optical design applies to both visible and infrared sensors; (7)Flexible mounting options: on-board UAV, land vehicle mounted, and fixed camera. More »

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