Share Email Print

Proceedings Paper

Uncooled thermal imaging sensor for UAV applications
Author(s): Derick M.T. Cochrane; Paul Antony Manning; Tim A. Wyllie
Format Member Price Non-Member Price
PDF $14.40 $18.00
cover GOOD NEWS! Your organization subscribes to the SPIE Digital Library. You may be able to download this paper for free. Check Access

Paper Abstract

Research by DERA aimed at unmanned air vehicle (UAV) size reduction and control automation has led to a unique solution for a short range reconnaissance UAV system. Known as OBSERVER, the UAV conventionally carries a lightweight visible band sensor payload producing imagery with a large 40°x90° field of regard (FOR) to maximize spatial awareness and target detection ranges. Images taken from three CCD camera units set at elevations from plan view and up to the near horizon and are 'stitched' together to produce the large contiguous sensor footprint. This paper describes the design of a thermal imaging (TI) sensor which has been developed to be compatible with the OBSERVER UAV system. The sensor is based on UK uncooled thermal imaging technology research and offers a compact and lightweight solution operating in the 8-12 μm waveband without the need for cryogenic cooling. Infra-red radiation is gathered using two lead scandium tantalate (PST) hybrid thermal detectors each with a 384 X 288 pixel resolution, known as the Very Large Array (VLA). The TI system is designed to maintain the imaging format with that of the visible band sensor. In order to practically achieve this with adequate resolution performance, a dual field of view (FOV) optical system is used within a pitchable gimbal. This combines the advantages of a wide angle 40°x30° FOV for target detection and a narrow angle 13°x10° FOV 'foveal patch' to improve target recognition ranges. The gimbal system can be steered in elevation to give the full 90° coverage as with the visible band sensor footprint. The concept of operation is that targets can be detected over the large FOV and then the air vehicle is maneuvered so as to bring the target into the foveal patch view for recognition at an acceptable stand-off range.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 October 2001
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4369, Infrared Technology and Applications XXVII, (10 October 2001); doi: 10.1117/12.445287
Show Author Affiliations
Derick M.T. Cochrane, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Malvern (United Kingdom)
Paul Antony Manning, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Malvern (United Kingdom)
Tim A. Wyllie, Defence Evaluation and Research Agency Farnborough (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4369:
Infrared Technology and Applications XXVII
Bjorn F. Andresen; Gabor F. Fulop; Marija Strojnik, Editor(s)

© SPIE. Terms of Use
Back to Top