Alabama Patent of the Month – April 2021

Localization is a method used in traditional navigation methods. This uses the inertial measurement unit (IMU) to determine an object’s orientation and Global Positioning System (GPS) for it’s position. However, GPS is not always available, and systems then rely on IMU measurements only which results in drift and error accumulation. Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc has designed a celestial positioning system as an alternative localization method which is unreliant on GPS.

The system is made of a celestial imaging unit and a signal processing unit; together, they collect and analyze images of celestial bodies or their polarization signature in the sky. The imaging unit records images of the sky including celestial objects (e.g. sun, moon, starts, planets). The signal processing unit takes this raw data and performs localization analyses. Latitude and longitude of the desired object are determined by matching the measured celestial body position to the expected position. 

Polaris is a leading electro-optic sensor developer and uses polarization to reveal details which remain undetected by other imaging devices. It’s with this technology that they are able to have their signal processing unit detect and analyze celestial objects or their polarization signatures.

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