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US Army looking for new UAV sensors.

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posted on Dec, 11 2009 @ 08:05 AM
So we have seen in the past the use of high resolution monitoring sensors such as the BuckEye 39megapixel sensor and the stupidly huge 66megapixel AngelFire system, the new ARGUS-IS (Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance - Imaging System developed by Darpa is a whopping 1.8GIGApixel sensor, however even that has grown old quickly and they are trying to work on a replacement already.

The summary is -

2.3GIGApixel (to see how big that is go Here and imagine every frame being this big)
running at least 2 frames per second!
IR and visible spectrums
small and energy efficient and able to be mounts to a small unmanned craft!

The details are below -

A09-046 - Ultra Resolution Camera for C4ISR Applications
TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Information Systems, Sensors, Electronics

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PEO Intelligence, Electronic Warfare and Sensors

OBJECTIVE: Proposals are sought to develop a novel multiple-FPA visible/infrared electro-optic sensor. The SBIR program is to focus on the design, development and demonstration of a wide area persistent surveillance capability not currently available. While the ability to combine multiple focal plane arrays to form a single image from an individual sensor has been demonstrated over the last few years, a multiple-FPA sensor system able to cover a larger area on the ground with 0.3 meter resolution (instead of the 1 meter resolution that is being used today) has not been designed or developed. In addition, current persistent wide area ISR systems are very expensive, heavy, and require a lot of electrical power. This SBIR program seeks a low cost, light weight, low power, electronically stabilized sensor system that can be flown from small aircraft (manned and/or UAV) and operated at a greatly reduced operational cost.

DESCRIPTION: Army and DOD have been developing high resolution cameras for wide area persistent surveillance applications. This topic entails the design, fabrication and demonstration of a combined visible/infrared sensor system with a minimum of 2.3 Giga pixels per frame and capable of operating at 2 frames per second or faster. In addition, the sensor system should have the user-selectable option of operating as a three color (RGB) camera with electronic stabilization capability so the requirement for a stabilized platform can be removed/relaxed. The sensor should use parallel electronic interfaces as a means of transferring data. The assembly, alignment and calibration of this type of sensor will require access to and the use of calibrated precision optical alignment and calibration systems. A FPA sensor system capable of simultaneously measuring visible and infrared will simplify overall sensor system design and development for persistent wide area surveillance applications. The end result will be a highly sensitive, discriminating sensor system that is more reliable, lighter, and less costly than currently available. The proposed sensor system will require innovative research and development. Individual FPA chips and optics can be COTS if available, although this is not a requirement.

PHASE I: During Phase I, the program shall design a new and innovative multiple-FPA sensor technology that will improve current wide area surveillance capabilities. Survey of research and development (R&D) efforts currently underway to develop single visible/infrared focal plane array chips and a determination of the feasibility of using existing chips in a multiple-FPA sensor system will occur in Phase I. In addition, a survey of current circuit card development capabilities to determine the best R&D processes currently available for fabrication of multiple-FPA sensor cards will be conducted. Once a specific FPA chip and fabrication process has been identified, a small scalable multiple-FPA sensor system will be designed and the feasibility of the proposed concept and technologies will be demonstrated. Phase I deliverable shall be a final report to include; the individual sensor performance data, the system level design and architecture as well as the anticipated performance of the sensor. The Phase I effort shall not include the design or the development of a new FPA chip technology.

PHASE II: During Phase II, the program shall complete the final design of the sensor array technology. The Phase II program shall first demonstration, in a breadboard configuration, a multiple-FPA card sensor system with a minimum 2.3 Giga pixel capability. Card fabrication process verification will be conducted that will require the development of an electro optics alignment station to provide optical input to individual FPA cards during assembly and debugging. Calibration measurements during the assembly and alignment process will allow the removal of any misalignment of individual FPA chips due to the circuit card fabrication process. Following the successful demonstration of the sensor system, the required number of completed FPA cards with individual optics will be integrated into a full-up working sensor system meeting the above stated specifications. The Phase II deliverables shall include a final report detailing the overall system design and performance. In addition, the contractor shall deliver one (1) low cost commercial aerial photography sensor system that meets a large majority of today’s commercial aerial photography requirements.

PHASE III: the final product from the SBIR will be tested on a small manned aircraft up to 10,000 feet. Engineering and prototype development, test and evaluation, and hardware qualification demonstration in a system-level test-bed which shows application to an insertion potential into one or more unmanned aerial vehicles will be completed.

Possible commercial applications of the ultra resolution camera include, but are not limited to, improved border and maritime management/patrol, critical infrastructure protection, transportation security, search & rescue, crime prevention, land & sea traffic monitoring, pipeline/powerline monitoring, private infrastructure surveillance/security, and aerial photography, and satellite augmentation system

[edit on 11-12-2009 by freakyclown]

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