Underwater Imaging LiDAR

laserimagerSponsors: Office of Naval Research

Project Overview:

To support Navy imaging operations in turbid waters, the Jaffe laboratory has been working for several decades on developing advanced laser imaging systems to improve image contrast and range in poor visibility waters typical in bays, harbors, and coastal environments. The latest development effort was tasked with reducing the size and power consumption of the system to fit on the REMUS 600 AUV. The system is currently operational and has performed several trials on the REMUS 600 with excellent results compared to conventional imaging methods.

General Information:

The Underwater Imaging LiDAR is composed of a high-rep-rate pulsed fiber laser with advanced detectors and scanning optics. The system is tightly controlled to scan a line at a fast rate and allow for towing or AUV flying speeds of up to 3 knots at common operational altitudes. Images from the system provide both range (for the time of flight of the pulsed laser) and reflectivity. Subsequent processing steps turn these data into point clouds and meshes that can be used to visualize an imaged scene in 3D.




  • Principal Investigator: Jules S. Jaffe
  • Principal Engineer: Ben Laxton
  • Software Engineer: Monette Karr
  • Engineering Consultant: Paul L. D. Roberts
  • Optical Consultant: Ryan Stafford
  • Imaging System Fabrication: Lockheed Martin
  • AUV Operations: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
  • Target Ranges and Performance Evaluation: SPAWAR