DARPA to fund QINETIQ's Wide-Area Imaging Sensor

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December 1, 2006: QinetiQ will develop a lensless imaging sensor for the Large Area Coverage Optical Search While Track and Engage (LACOSTE) program pursued by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). Qinetiq secured a two-year US$5 million research funding from DARPA to support the program. The new sensor will provide persistent tactical surveillance and precision tracking capabilities.

The sensor will be based on a suite of sensors, positioned on an airship or unmanned aerial vehicle, cruising at an altitude of 60,000 ft (~20 km). The sensor will be able to simultaneously track large numbers of moving vehicles in dense urban areas with a high degree of accuracy, 24-hours a day. In order to achieve this, sensors need to be high resolution and sensitive, have a wide field-of-regard and a variable almost instantaneous reconfigurable field of-view – a combination of unique capability which is impossible to obtain with current lens-based sensors. Raytheon is also working on a similar, optical array sensor for future space based application.

QinetiQ's defines its novel lensless imaging solution as a "disruptive camera technology" which, when matured, will be able to influence a wide range of defense, security, industrial and commercial applications. Goodrich Surveillance and Reconnaissance Systems is contributing to the program as a subcontractor.


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