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Proceedings Paper

Fusion or confusion: knowledge or nonsense?
Author(s): Peter L. Rothman; Richard V. Denton
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Paper Abstract

The terms 'data fusion,' 'sensor fusion,' multi-sensor integration,' and 'multi-source integration' have been used widely in the technical literature to refer to a variety of techniques, technologies, systems, and applications which employ and/or combine data derived from multiple information sources. Applications of data fusion range from real-time fusion of sensor information for the navigation of mobile robots to the off-line fusion of both human and technical strategic intelligence data. The Department of Defense Critical Technologies Plan lists data fusion in the highest priority group of critical technologies, but just what is data fusion? The DoD Critical Technologies Plan states that data fusion involves 'the acquisition, integration, filtering, correlation, and synthesis of useful data from diverse sources for the purposes of situation/environment assessment, planning, detecting, verifying, diagnosing problems, aiding tactical and strategic decisions, and improving system performance and utility.' More simply states, sensor fusion refers to the combination of data from multiple sources to provide enhanced information quality and availability over that which is available from any individual source alone. This paper presents a survey of the state-of-the- art in data fusion technologies, system components, and applications. A set of characteristics which can be utilized to classify data fusion systems is presented. Additionally, a unifying mathematical and conceptual framework within which to understand and organize fusion technologies is described. A discussion of often overlooked issues in the development of sensor fusion systems is also presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 August 1991
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 1470, Data Structures and Target Classification, (1 August 1991); doi: 10.1117/12.44835
Show Author Affiliations
Peter L. Rothman, TAU Corp. (United States)
Richard V. Denton, TAU Corp. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1470:
Data Structures and Target Classification
Vibeke Libby, Editor(s)

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