Efficient 3-D Imaging of Vessels for Improved Classification and Persistent Tracking
Navy SBIR 2014.1 - Topic N141-018
NAVAIR - Ms. Donna Moore - navair.sbir@navy.mil
Opens: Dec 20, 2013 - Closes: Jan 22, 2014

N141-018 TITLE: Efficient 3-D Imaging of Vessels for Improved Classification and Persistent Tracking

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Air Platform, Sensors


RESTRICTION ON PERFORMANCE BY FOREIGN CITIZENS (i.e., those holding non-U.S. Passports): This topic is "ITAR Restricted". The information and materials provided pursuant to or resulting from this topic are restricted under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), 22 CFR Parts 120 - 130, which control the export of defense-related material and services, including the export of sensitive technical data. Foreign Citizens may perform work under an award resulting from this topic only if they hold the "Permanent Resident Card", or are designated as "Protected Individuals" as defined by 8 U.S.C. 1324b(a)(3). If a proposal for this topic contains participation by a foreign citizen who is not in one of the above two categories, the proposal will be rejected.

OBJECTIVE: Develop, implement and assess a true 3-D Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) algorithm for maritime surveillance and identification of ships and small boats.

DESCRIPTION: Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) processing relies on both radar processing leveraging optimal orientations and angular rates, but also motion prediction within the processing. Typical 2-D ISAR processing produces a number of frames in a movie-like sequence that then relies on image analysts to interpret and identify the craft. These 2-D sequences rely on short segments of good cross-range resolution that are then combined to produce a rough approximation of a 3-D realization. Autofocus approaches incorporate curved phase histories or angular motion trajectories that improve the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) processing and produce clearer imagery. These automated image processing methods attempt to resolve ambiguities of perspective and to deduce pseudo-3-D ISAR images that are used to deblur and sharpen the 2-D imagery are much less than optimal.

Small boats (<100 feet) pose additional challenges to ISAR processing, since small watercraft will have more complex and responsive motion than larger vessels. These more complex motions make the ISAR processing very different. Autofocus and other deblurring approaches designed for larger ships are less effective for small boats.

A true 3-D ISAR approach to reconstruct the 3-D structure of the target is sought to meet the challenge of imaging and identifying small boats. An ISAR approach that would lead to an accurate reconstruction of the 3-D boat image is desired. In addition, the approach requires an efficient use of less radar resources with minimal image analyst and operator input. The algorithm should be able to handle small boat structure and small boat motion to produce true 3-D imagery for identification. More efficient ISAR processing with automatic, unambiguous 3-D ISAR image construction should eventually enable robust automatic ID processing. Performance metrics include gauging the ability to resolve the 3-D motion and fidelity of the imagery. Of vital importance is to gauge the efficiency of the approach, if it extracts useful information from most of the data frames and how many frames would be required for robust processing.

For small boat identification, accurate retrieval of the boat motion behavior and the boat response to the ocean dynamics would also be of interest. This additional information could have value and be used to help identify and classify the imaged boats.

PHASE I: Develop a true 3-D ISAR algorithmic framework. Implement the algorithm for post-processing. Test and estimate the potential performance of the algorithm using real or simulated data.

PHASE II: Test and assess the performance of the algorithm as implemented in Phase I using actual ISAR data from a representative sample of large and small vessels. Produce a design and plan forward for real-time implementation of this 3-D ISAR approach.

PHASE III: Transition to maritime surveillance radar systems.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: 3-D ISAR imaging has a variety of applications in maritime surveillance and vessel tracking for both commercial and military interests.

1. Su, Fulin, Lu, Jing, & Su, Yuan. (2012). A method of 3-D image reconstruction of target based on ISAR image sequences. Synthetic Aperture Radar. EUSAR. 9th European Conference on, Topic(s): Fields, Waves & Electromagnetics, Page(s): 123 12

2. Suwa, Kei, Yamamoto, Kazuhiko, Iwamoto, Masafumi, & Kirimoto, Tetsuo. (2008). Reconstruction of 3-D Target Geometry Using Radar Movie, Synthetic Aperture Radar (EUSAR), 7th European Conference on, Topic(s): Fields, Waves & Electromagnetics. Page(s): 1 - 4

KEYWORDS: Maritime Surveillance; Imaging; Radar; ISAR; vessel classification persistent tracking

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