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Weather forecasting, battlefield assessment, target classification and tracking, transportation management—these are but a few of the many civilian and defense applications enhanced through the use of sensor and data fusion. The design of effective sensor and data fusion architectures involves optimization of size, cost, and performance of the sensors and associated data processing, which in turn requires a broad spectrum of knowledge. Accordingly, sensor and data fusion practitioners generally have an appreciation of (1) target and background signature-generation phenomena, (2) sensor design, (3) signal processing algorithms, (4) pertinent characteristics of the environment in which the sensors operate, (5) available communications, and (6) end use of the fusion products. This book discusses the above topics, with major emphasis on signature-generation phenomena to which electromagnetic sensors respond, atmospheric effects, sensor fusion architectures, and data fusion algorithms for target detection, classification, identification, and tracking. The types of signatures and data collected by a sensor are affected by the following: • The type of energy (e.g., electromagnetic, acoustic, ultrasonic, seismic) received by the sensor; • active or passive sensor operation as influenced by center frequency, polarization, spectral band, and incidence angle; • spatial resolution of the sensor versus target size; • target and sensor motion; • weather, clutter, and countermeasure effects. Although this book focuses on phenomena that affect electromagnetic sensors, other sensors such as acoustic, ultrasonic, and seismic can also be a part of a sensor fusion architecture. This group of sensors has proven valuable in civilian applications, which include detection of vehicles on roadways, aircraft on runways, and geological exploration. Military applications of these sensors include the detection and classification of objects above and below ground. The information that nonelectromagnetic sensors provide can certainly be part of a data and sensor fusion architecture.
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