Navy looking for new sensor technologies to see through fog, haze, rain, and snow at sea

ARLINGTON, Va., 7 Jan. 2016. U.S. Navy shipboard electronics experts are reaching out to industry to find new sensor technologies to enable surface warship and submarine crews to capture images through difficult obscurants like fog, haze, rain, and snow.

Navy looking for new sensor technologies to see through fog, haze, rain, and snow at sea
Navy looking for new sensor technologies to see through fog, haze, rain, and snow at sea
ARLINGTON, Va., 7 Jan. 2016. U.S. Navy shipboard electronics experts are reaching out to industry to find new sensor technologies to enable surface warship and submarine crews to capture images through difficult obscurants like fog, haze, rain, and snow.

Officials of the Office of Naval Research (ONR) in Arlington, Va., issued a request for information Wednesday (N00014-16-RFI-0001) for the electro-optical Imaging Through Obscurants project, which seeks to deal with fog, haze, rain, and snow, but not with dust or smoke.

Navy vessels often must operate in congested waterways throughout the world, where they must use electro-optical (EO) and infrared (IR) sensors for situational awareness and target detection, tracking, and identification.

The short wavelengths of EO/IR sensors, however make imaging far more susceptible to performance degradation from the scattering of water-based aerosols. Imaging through dense fog is the intrinsic hard problem, researchers say.

To deal with these problems, ONR officials are considering sensor post processing that uses prior information about the scene, as well as overcoming limitations that scattering water-based aerosols impose on the signal-to-background ratio of EO/IR sensors.

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Researchers are interested in active imaging techniques with approaches like structured laser-light illumination and temporal gating. Navy experts also are interested in passive imaging techniques that use a judicious choice of spectral bands, polarization diversity, high-speed multi-frame acquisition, or other mode of acquisition together with advanced signal processing.

Proposed solutions may involve spectroscopic properties of obscurants, and use all or any portion of the electromagnetic spectrum ranging from the ultraviolet to the far infrared, including visible light, near-infrared, shortwave infrared (SWIR), midwave infrared (MWIR), and longwave infrared (LWIR). Researchers point out they are not interested in millimeter-wave solutions.

Companies interested should email ideas no later than 19 Feb. 2016 to the Navy's Ravi Athale at ravindra.athale@navy.mil. Put RFI: Imaging through Obscurants in the subject line. Email questions or concerns to Athale at the above address.

More information is online at https://www.fbo.gov/spg/DON/ONR/ONR/N00014-16-RFI-0001/listing.html.

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