Maintenance window scheduled to begin at February 14th 2200 est. until 0400 est. February 15th


Forgot Password?

    Defense Visual Information Distribution Service Logo

    LiDAR-Equipped Unmanned Aircraft System Supports NPS Research

    LiDAR-Equipped Unmanned Aircraft System Supports NPS Research

    Photo By Javier Chagoya | U.S. Navy Lt. Corbin Mellow, a student at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS),...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Naval Postgraduate School

    An unmanned aircraft system (UAS) equipped with an infrared LiDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, sensor is enabling students at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to conduct important research into the depth of water in coastal areas.

    The three-dimensional, laser-scanning equipped UAS is supporting multiple student research efforts under a project led by NPS Associate Professor of Oceanography Mara Orescanin to develop a more effective and reliable capability to estimate bathymetry in the tumultuous, dynamic – and operationally critical – surf zone.

    “This area is typically a challenge to predict bathymetry because it is optically opaque, difficult to operate in as strong currents and waves develop, and changes on scales of hours to days from collecting data,” says Orescanin, who serves as principal investigator on the Office of Naval Research and National Science Foundation funded research.

    Current efforts are building on the thesis research of a recent NPS graduate, U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Justin Crisp, who demonstrated how UAS-mounted near-Infrared LiDAR sensors outperformed conventional surveying and mapping methods to “provide a standalone solution to estimate nearshore bathymetry … and a promising path to improving coastal access capabilities for intelligence collection,” he wrote in his September 2023 NPS thesis.

    U.S. Navy Lt. Corbin Mellow, an NPS Space Systems Operations student projected to graduate in June 2024, is also utilizing the LiDAR-equipped UAS for his thesis, with Orescanin and physics faculty member Dr. Christopher Smithtro as co-advisors. Mellow is exploring the scalability of LiDAR sensors, comparing the UAS-mounted unit with possible space-borne, remote-sensing capabilities to improve bathymetry using LiDAR.

    Future plans for this project will explore the integration of new payloads on the LiDAR-equipped UAS focused on detecting and mapping mines in the surf zone, Orescanin says.

    To learn more about oceanography at NPS, visit

    For more information about NPS’ Space Systems Academic Group, visit


    Date Taken: 04.29.2024
    Date Posted: 04.29.2024 17:15
    Story ID: 469801

    Web Views: 99
    Downloads: 0