Three-dimensional (3D) FLASH Laser Radar (LADAR) sensors are unique due to the ability to rapidly acquire a series of two dimensional remote scene data (i.e. range images). Principal causes of 3D FLASH LADAR range estimation error include spatial blur, detector blurring, noise, timing jitter, and inter-sample targets. Unlike previous research, this paper accounts for pixel coupling by defining the range image mathematical model as a 2D convolution between the system spatial impulse response and the object (target or remote scene) at a particular point in time. Using this model, improved range estimation is possible by object restoration from the data observations. Object estimation is performed by deriving a blind deconvolution Generalized Expectation Maximization (GEM) algorithm with the range determined from the estimated object by a normalized correlation method. Theoretical derivations and simulation results are verified with experimental data of a bar target taken from a 3D FLASH LADAR system in a laboratory environment. Simulation examples show that the GEM improves range estimation over the unprocessed data and a Wiener filter method by 75% and 26% respectively. In the laboratory experiment, the GEM improves range estimation by 34% and 18%over the unprocessed data and Wiener filter method respectively.
Jason R. McMahon,
Richard K. Martin,
Stephen C. Cain,
"Three-dimensional FLASH laser radar range estimation via blind deconvolution," Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 4(1), 043517 (1 March 2010). https://doi.org/10.1117/1.3386044