20 April 2010 Littoral environmental reconnaissance using tactical imagery from unmanned aircraft systems
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The dynamic nature of littoral regions requires a reconnaissance approach that can rapidly quantify environmental conditions. Inadequate estimation of these conditions can have substantial impacts on the performance of Naval systems. Given that expeditionary warfare operations can occur over timescales on the order of hours, exploitation of video imagery from tactical vehicles such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) has proved to be a reliable and adaptive solution. Tactical littoral products that can be created by exploiting UAS imagery include estimates of surf conditions, dominant wave period, wave direction, nearshore currents, and bathymetry. These vehicles can fly for durations of 1-2 hours at altitudes of less than 1000 m (beneath typical cloud cover) to obtain imagery at pixel resolutions better than 1 m. The main advantage of using imaging sensors carried by these vehicles is that the data is available in the region of operational interest where other data collection approaches would be difficult or impossible to employ. The through-the-sensor exploitation technique we have developed operates in two phases. The first step is to align individual image frames to a common reference and then georegister the alignment into a mapped image sequence. The second phase involves signal processing of pixel intensity time series (virtual sensors) to determine spatial relationships over time. Geophysical relationships, such as linear wave dispersion, can then be applied to these processed data to invert for environmental parameters such as bathymetry.
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K. Todd Holland, David M. Lalejini, Steven D. Spansel, Robert A. Holman, "Littoral environmental reconnaissance using tactical imagery from unmanned aircraft systems", Proc. SPIE 7678, Ocean Sensing and Monitoring II, 767806 (20 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.852952; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.852952


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