Authors: Lane Fuller, Amy Carl, Joe Spagnolia, Brad Short, Michael Dahlin
Advanced Scientific Concepts, Inc., 125 Cremona Drive, Suite 250, Goleta, CA 93117
Linear mode global shutter flash LIDAR (gsf-LIDAR) is addressing the need for 3D sensing in a wide range of space, airborne, autonomous vehicle, and marine applications. Flash LIDAR produces real time dense 3D point clouds, enriched with scene intensity information, that are not subject to motion distortion. Current and future applications require extended range performance from a low Size Weight and Power (SWaP) 3D sensor. A Linear Mode LIDAR with photon sensitivity comparable to Geiger Mode sensing is needed to meet the challenges. Geiger mode APDs sensors require high repetition rate lasers to allow multiple frame summing and the associated processing overhead creates a significant SWaP burden. Advanced Scientific Concepts LLC has developed a linear mode gsf-LIDAR camera which has significant improvements in the minimum photon detection threshold, 10X for a single frame and over 30X with the aid of frame summing, which offers long range performance with low flux photon counting capability. ASC 3D Flash LIDAR uncooled testing demonstrated sub 30 photon detection with a low repetition rate laser. This performance improvement enables low SWaP sensors for enhanced space-based LIDAR capabilities for rendezvous /docking and planetary landing hazard detection and avoidance applications.
Keywords: Linear Mode Global Shutter Flash LIDAR, Photon Counting, 3D Mapping, Object Detection and Tracking, Proximal Satellite Operations, Landing Hazard Detection and Avoidance