Landing Zone Analysis for Autonomous Medevac

Hardware 

The landing-site survey system consists of a line-scanning LADAR, an inertial navigation system (INS), and computing.  As the helicopter flies over target terrain, the LADAR measures the range of 10,000 points in a line perpendicular to the direction of flight every second.  The INS measures the position of the helicopter to within 1centimeter and .01degrees and reports to the computer 100 times per second.  The computer takes the LADAR and INS data to register the position of each point the LADAR sees to a global map.  This map is then used to evaluate the terrain for landing sites. The computer is fast enough to evaluate the terrain in real time.

This survey system mounts to the bottom of a EC135 helicopter as shown in the picture below. The GPS antenna mounts to the top of the tail, and the computing rides in the cabin, strapped to the floor in a rugged case.