Office of Naval Research Summer Faculty Research & Sabbatical Leave Program
Naval Surface Warfare Center - Panama City Division

Sensor Technology

NSWC PCD scientists and engineers conduct basic and applied research in acoustic, electromagnetic, and electro-optic sensing technologies as well as in signal and imaging processing. This includes: modeling/predictions of physical phenomena in underwater and airborne environments; experimental/theoretical characterization of sensors and targets; development of prototype sensors/instrumentation to support experiments and validate models and system concepts; development/analysis of digital signal and image processing techniques for Automated Target Recognition (ATR); development of in-situ and post mission analysis tools supporting multi-sensor fusion and co-registration techniques; and implementation of advanced processing algorithms in embedded real-time hardware.


Development and assessment of advanced electromagnetic sensing technologies and systems to perform detection, classification and identification and tracking of threats for underwater and land-based targets from manned/unmanned systems, to include buried mine identification, at actionable distances within a broad range of operating environments; Development, analysis, modeling, and testing of electromagnetic technologies and systems; Interaction of electromagnetic sensing systems with natural and anthropogenic environments; Development of numerical, experimental and/or theoretical methods to characterize and exploit electromagnetics existing within complex environments; Development of electromagnetic models and their integration with military programs of interest in the area of sensing phenomenology; M odeling of electromagnetic phenomena in conducting media to include the effects of noise on magnetic sensor performance and the development of prototypes and experiments to validate theory and modeling; Development of visualization tools to enable the understanding of electromagnetic propagation within the battlespace.


Simulation and experimental verification of the sonar response of the sea bed and embedded targets, including transmission and propagation effects; fast and accurate analytic and numerical solutions of acoustic and elastic wave scattering; target physics in complex environments; identification/isolation/extraction of target physics in image and non-image data projections; through-the-sensor inversion of environmental acoustic parameters.


Theoretical and experimental research, development, test, and evaluation of new electro-optic sensor technologies for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance applications in support of Navy/Marine Corps and DoD missions in Mine Warfare, Expeditionary Warfare and Special Operations in littoral and coastal regions; modeling and prediction of physical phenomena involving infrared, electro-optical, and ultraviolet (UV) sensor technologies in both underwater and airborne environments to include optical pulse propagation in the sea water medium; multiple scattering in media from dense, randomly distributed scatterers; techniques to remove noise from coherent signal returns; and advanced airborne remote sensing techniques; Multispectral range gated LIDAR with day/night capability for use in very shallow water, surf zone, and beach zones; and laser interferometric sensing methods in which an acoustic source exciting a target is merged with laser-based electro-optic imaging techniques.


Dynamics and interaction of single and multiple vehicles, both towed and free swimming; prediction of non-linear hydromechanic forces and moments using rational and analytical methods; dynamic and control of cable-body systems; wake generation and evolution of three-dimensional turbulent wakes partially bounded by a free surface.

Robotics and Autonomy

Algorithm development for multi-agent coordination, task allocation, path planning, and control; autonomous systems architecture design, development, and use; autonomous distributed sensor field placement optimization and long-duration mission autonomy; formal verification, validation, and testing of autonomous systems; payload autonomy development.

Signal and Image Processing

Signal processing for synthetic aperture sonar/radar and underwater communications; Computer assisted detection/classification/localization/tracking algorithm development for active and passive sensors; advanced neural network design and neural network architecture/training optimization; sensor and data fusion process; morphologically based image processing; image compression/storage/display; high speed/parallel processing architectures and algorithms; automated algorithm development. Emphases are placed on signals and images collected using sonars, optical sensors, and magnetic sensors.

Coastal Warfare Analysis

Mine countermeasures (MCM) tactical theory algorithm optimization with high-speed computer technology, reconnaissance theory development for future organic MCM in support of battle group operations, comparative analysis of current search theory versus pattern recognition approaches to mine/minefield identification, algorithm development to quantity the risk to ships performing battle group operations within a confined area containing mines.

Cyber Security

Apply cutting edge techniques to the design and implementation of software products; includes embedded, encrypted, network communications, OS hardening, and memory protection techniques.

Human-machine Interaction

Enhance mission performance by employing autonomy at rest and autonomy in motion, both supporting human-machine collaboration; supporting technologies in observability and directability; Provably correct emergent behavior; Trustworthiness and trust calibration under defined conditions; Natural language processing, shared “mental models,?mutual predictability; Understanding intent; Fully adaptive coordination; Implicit communication.