The proposed 3D LIDAR sensor will provide icing cloud imaging and ranging information for NASA's all weather UAV operations both in-flight and during take-off and landings. The LIDAR will identify cloud layer location at night to allow safe separation distances from icing clouds and identify clearings for safe decent and landing. The LIDAR also has the capability for ground obstacle avoidance and detecting hazardous surface conditions such as black ice that require increased stopping distance.
The proposed compact LIDAR instrument will have widespread application to aircraft that do not currently have certified on-board ice protection equipment, such as police, air ambulance, and search and rescue helicopters. The proposed LIDAR will augment standard cockpit radars and provide a new capability to locate hazardous icing cloud layers that are currently invisible to weather Radar. The product will find widespread applications to enhance General Aviation aircraft safety.