29 April 2010 Spectral ladar: towards active 3D multispectral imaging
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Abstract
In this paper we present our Spectral LADAR concept, an augmented implementation of traditional LADAR. This sensor uses a polychromatic source to obtain range-resolved 3D spectral images which are used to identify objects based on combined spatial and spectral features, resolving positions in three dimensions and up to hundreds of meters in distance. We report on a proof-of-concept Spectral LADAR demonstrator that generates spectral point clouds from static scenes. The demonstrator transmits nanosecond supercontinuum pulses generated in a photonic crystal fiber. Currently we use a rapidly tuned receiver with a high-speed InGaAs APD for 25 spectral bands with the future expectation of implementing a linear APD array spectrograph. Each spectral band is independently range resolved with multiple return pulse recognition. This is a critical feature, enabling simultaneous spectral and spatial unmixing of partially obscured objects when not achievable using image fusion of monochromatic LADAR and passive spectral imagers. This enables higher identification confidence in highly cluttered environments such as forested or urban areas (e.g. vehicles behind camouflage or foliage). These environments present challenges for situational awareness and robotic perception which can benefit from the unique attributes of Spectral LADAR. Results from this demonstrator unit are presented for scenes typical of military operations and characterize the operation of the device. The results are discussed here in the context of autonomous vehicle navigation and target recognition.
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Michael A. Powers, Christopher C. Davis, "Spectral ladar: towards active 3D multispectral imaging", Proc. SPIE 7684, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XV, 768409 (29 April 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.850599; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.850599
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