US: Ball Aerospace has signed an exclusive license agreement to be the sole manufacturer of the Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode (GmAPD) light detection and ranging (LIDAR) cameras for the defense and aerospace industries. The license was provided by Argo AI which acquired the former manufacturer of the technology, Princeton Lightwave Inc. (PLI), in October 2017.
This technology is a critical component to non-conventional imaging and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems, which are used in U.S. Department of Defense, space and other government missions.
“For more than 40 years, Ball Aerospace has been providing advanced imaging capabilities to government and commercial customers and securing the rights to this camera technology greatly complements our current portfolio,” said Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager, Tactical Solutions, Ball Aerospace. “Geiger-mode LIDAR cameras provide unique sensing capabilities and high-resolution imaging, which enable and protect our warfighters to keep our nation safe.”
The GmAPD camera technology creates an accurate 3-D representation of wide-area terrain and offers the ability to “see through” dense foliage and other obscurants at significantly longer distances. The camera provides LIDAR systems with unparalleled performance in aerial coverage and point collection rates, precise time-of-flight measurement capability and single photon sensitivity for payloads limited by size, weight and power.
Three options of Geiger-mode cameras will be manufactured by Ball in Colorado, with opportunities to expand upon existing technology to meet future customer needs.