The use and scope of LADAR (laser detection and ranging) applications continues to expand as the technology matures. This growth is reflected in the National Institute of Standards and Technology's (NIST) experience with research into the applications of LADARs for construction, manufacturing, and autonomous vehicle navigation. However, standard protocols or procedures for calibrating and testing LADARs have yet to be developed. Currently, selections of LADAR instruments are generally based on the manufacturer's specifications, the availability of standard test procedures would promote more uniform definitions of these specifications and provide a basis for a better informed differentiation between LADAR instruments.
Consequently, NIST's Construction Metrology and Automation Group (CMAG) has conducted exploratory experiments to characterize the performance of a LADAR instrument. The experiences gained in these efforts are summarized in this paper. These experiences also pointed to the need for an internal calibration/evaluation facility at NIST, as well as to the need for the development of uniform specifications and test procedures for characterizing LADARs. As a result, NIST convened a workshop on the establishment of a LADAR calibration facility. Discussions of some issues relating to the performance evaluation of LADARs, facility requirements, and similar efforts are presented in this paper.