August 22, 2008--A QinetiQ-led team has secured a 33-month $22 million follow-on research contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in support of its Large Area Coverage Optical Search While Track and Engage (LACOSTE) program. Defense and security equipment firm QinetiQ is working with Goodrich ISR Systems on the sensor technology.
Following a successful initial phase, DARPA selected QinetiQ to continue development of a new sensor system to provide persistent tactical surveillance and precision tracking capabilities. The concept is to develop a sensor system that operates at high altitude (approximately 20 km), possibly on an airship or endurance UAV, that detects and simultaneously tracks large numbers of moving vehicles in dense urban areas with a high degree of accuracy and wide field of view, with high resolution and sensitivity, and that operates 24 hours a day.
QinetiQ's solution is the based on novel adaptive coded aperture imaging, a new camera technology with a wide range of defense, security, industrial and commercial applications. QinetiQ is being assisted in delivering the LACOSTE programme by Goodrich ISR Systems which is responsible for designing the optical system, assisting with architecture development, and performing laboratory and flight testing.
"This award is an endorsement of the team's ability to deliver novel sensing technologies," explained Chris Slinger, QinetiQ's principal investigator on the LACOSTE programme and a QinetiQ Senior Fellow. "Our adaptive coded aperture imaging draws on several elements of QinetiQ's rich technology base, combining leading-edge microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), optical and sensor physics, signal processing, image recovery, tracking techniques and systems engineering. It is an example of a new wave of disruptive, computational imaging systems that offer orders of magnitude improvement in mass, size, economy and performance when compared to conventional sensor technologies."
For more information, visit www.qinetiq.com.