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Bistatic Underwater Optical Imaging Using AUVs
NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER PANAMA CITY FL
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To be optimally useful, optical sensors designed and developed for AUVs should be small and should require minimal power. In addition, they should be low cost, since the AUV systems themselves must be low cost, and because the AUV might not always be recoverable. Never-the-less, they should provide imagery of sufficient quality to fulfill the crucial identification role in MCM. Identification quality imaging sensors, such as Streak Tube Imaging Lidar STIL and Laser Line Scan LLS, have been developed for larger MCM platforms. These sensor systems are currently relatively large, expensive, and draw significant power, and so are not immediate candidates for small AUV platforms. These sophisticated sensor systems, however, have been specifically designed to effectively deal with the backscatter noise and blurglowforward scatter noise which typically limit the performance of underwater optical sensors. The thrust of the current effort is to investigate the optical sensor concepts which are designed to exploit the cooperative behavior between small AUVs, or between an AUV and a larger platform. Specifically, by exploiting cooperative behavior, optical sensor systems can utilize bistatic imaging approaches. Bistatic imaging can be anticipated to provide major reductions in the backscatter noise which frequently limits the performance of low cost optical sensor systems. Since the bistatic aspect is the most fundamental change from other existing optical imaging sensors, this bistatic aspect - along with the required cooperative behavior - is the central thrust of the current effort.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE