ALHAT: When are ALHAT activities planned, and How are they broken down? What's next?
When are ALHAT activities planned?
Between 2007 and 2012, the goal is to develop the sensors and algorithms to TRL-6 (Wikipedia Entry on TRL). This means demonstrating the system using hardware via field testing, not solely simulation.
How will ALHAT be executed?
Algorithms, Hardware, and testing techniques are all developed and coordinated to meet a one-field-test-per-year plan. Thus far, we have executed:
FT1 (2008): Collection of imaging LIDAR and passive optical camera data to demonstrate sensing of hazards from low altitudes
FT2 (2008): Collection of Doppler Laser Altimeter and passive optical camera data to demosntrate highly accurate ground-relative velocity
FT3 (2009): Colelction of passive optical camera, imaging LIDAR, and Laser Altimeter data to demonstrate Terrain-relative navigation using a variety of algorithms.
and we will execute:
FT4 (2010): Closed-loop navigation and articulated pointing of imaging LIDAR data to demonstrate HDA and HRN mosaic generation and point tracking for post-test algorithm analysis
FT5 (2011): Follow-on to FT4.
FT6 (2012): Follow-on to FT5.
The tests culminate in the demonstration of on-board ALHAT functionality, including Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA), Hazard-Relative Navigation (HRN), and Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN).
FT4 will be the next big field campaign, and the team is actively developing the components that will be used in it: Specifically, the ALHAT Derived Navigation Filter (ADNF), the real-time embedded computing platform (APB), and the gimbal software and hardware for steering the LIDAR to perform the mosaics and hazard tracking illustrated on the ALHAT website.
As I am the technical lead for pulling all the components of FT4 together, you'll be seeing more about that in detail in future postings.