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Maturation of LIDAR Systems for Exploration Missions

SINTEF is in collaboration with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to develop a cutting-edge 3D camera for use in outer space. The camera can contribute to orbital satellite servicing and safely landing on the moon.

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Over many years, SINTEF has built up world-leading expertise on 3D photography with revolutionizing new products across a range of methods and technologies. Capturing 3-dimensional images is a huge advantage for robots and autonomous vehicles, which otherwise need advanced algorithms and must make assumptions to determine the distance to an object.

This is especially true in outer space, where navigation requires three dimensions of spatial awareness. Depth perception is a key enabler for manoeuvring in space. As robotics and autonomous systems become ever more sophisticated and missions become more ambitious, there is an increasing appetite for fast and reliable 3D vision.

SINTEFs 3D-camera, called a flash-LIDAR, is particularly well-suited for space. Where other technologies give depth perception at a few metres' range, SINTEF's prototype can operate at several kilometres. This has caused significant interest in such methods. ESA is exploring the possibility of capturing Lunar topography in real time for safe landing missions. And many commercial actors are looking for 3D vision for the next-generation space ecosystem, where service robots will be extening the lifetime of commercial satellites in orbit.

The FLExM project introduces a collaboration between SINTEF and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to combine world-leading competence on 3D with expertise in space technology. With the combined knowledge of this team, we aim to develop and realize a new and greatly improved flash-LIDAR that includes a clear roadmap toward space.

This development represents a big step forward from UTOFIA, and the technology also has great potential on the globe, both on land and in water.

Let us hear from you if you are interested in 3D photography.

Key Factors

Project duration

2022 - 2025

Cooperation partner

Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace

Project type

ESA/ExPeRT Direktefinansiert

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