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Simultaneous optical and thermal tracking of airborne aircraft by Specialised Imaging


Specialised Imaging reports on how its Lightweight Optical Motion Analysis (LOMA) system has been used to optically track an aircraft for several kilometers while simultaneously capturing the thermal signature of the aircraft over the same distance.


Simultaneous optical and thermal tracking of airborne aircraft by Specialised Imaging Lightweight Optical Motion Analysis (LOMA) (Picture source: Specialised Imaging)


The LOMA system accommodates large multiple camera payloads enabling high precision optical tracking of fast moving aircraft, drones or projectiles even in environments subject to vibration, electromagnetic radiation or extremes in temperature and humidity.

Fitted with a a Basler high resolution optical camera with a 50mm Nikon lens and a FLIR X8500SC thermal imaging camera with 200mm lens, the LOMA system was used to track approximately 15Km of the plane flight. In poor weather or night time conditions the data from the thermal camera would be the preferred way to track the target.

Using independent motors, LOMA system users can control camera elevation (-20 to + 190°) and provide unlimited azimuth rotation using slip ring technology. Precision motor controls ensure smooth auto track functions to capture distant fast moving objects with an angular accuracy of ± 0.002°.

In this field trial the LOMA system used a "hot spot" tracking algorithm focused on the aircraft nose. However the software has an offset function that allows the centre of the field-of-view to be moved away from the specific area being tracked. Further along the flight of the tracked object the offset can be reduced or removed as the tracking point changed from the front to the centre as the target changes orientation.