1992-07-01

Engineering a Visual System for Seeing Through Fog 921130

We examine the requirements for on-board aircraft sensor systems that would allow pilots to “see through” poor weather, especially fog, and land and rollout aircraft under conditions that currently cause flight cancellations and airport closures. Three visual aspects of landing and rollout are distinguished: guidance, hazard detection and hazard recognition. The visual features which support the tasks are discussed. Three broad categories of sensor technology are examined: passive millimeter wave (PMMW), imaging radar, and passive infrared (IR). PMMW and imaging radar exhibit good weather penetration, but poor spatial and temporal resolution. Imaging radar exhibits good weather penetration, but typically relies on a flat-earth assumption which can lead to interpretive errors. PMMW systems have a narrow field of view. IR has poorer weather penetration but good spatial resolution. We recommend using both millimeter-wave and infrared sensor systems, blending the images using multiresolution digital-image pyramid-processing technology, and fusing the resulting real-time images with stored database imagery of the same scene.

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