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Proceedings Paper

Demonstration of vehicle-to-vehicle optical pointing, acquisition, and tracking for undersea laser communications
Author(s): Nicholas D. Hardy; Hemonth G. Rao; Stephen D. Conrad; Thomas R. Howe; Marvin S. Scheinbart; Richard D. Kaminsky; Scott A. Hamilton
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Paper Abstract

To date, undersea optical communication has been driven by wide-beam LED systems. Directional laser systems have several advantages | increased range, increased data rate, and better performance in solar background | but require a precise tracking system to maintain laser pointing through vehicle motion. We have demonstrated an underwater laser communication system with a bi-direction, all-optical pointing, acquisition, and tracking system. Laser communication terminals were mounted on two remotely operated vehicles that were piloted to the ends of a pool (a separation of 20 m), coarsely aligned to within about 10 degrees, and then set to autonomously acquire and track each other. Acquisitions occurred within a few seconds, and the link never broke during maneuvers. To our knowledge this is the first demonstration of a functional undersea laser tracking system between mobile vehicles. The demonstrated precision and robustness can enable 1+ Gbps data links between independent, moving vehicles, over several 100 meters in clear ocean water. Additionally, this approach provides precise (cm- class) relative positioning between the communicating parties, enabling relative position, navigation, and timing (PNT) distribution between independent vehicles. This technology is a crucial enabler of undersea wireless optical networking for manned and unmanned vehicles.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 March 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 10910, Free-Space Laser Communications XXXI, 109100Z (4 March 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2511178
Show Author Affiliations
Nicholas D. Hardy, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Hemonth G. Rao, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Stephen D. Conrad, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Thomas R. Howe, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Marvin S. Scheinbart, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Richard D. Kaminsky, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)
Scott A. Hamilton, MIT Lincoln Lab. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10910:
Free-Space Laser Communications XXXI
Hamid Hemmati; Don M. Boroson, Editor(s)

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