The department optical sensors and electronics as one of three sub-departments of optical information systems mainly works in the area of infrared technology (I.R), and high resolution satellite technology in national and international projects.
Due to worldwide global warming the number and intensity of bush and forest fires have increased not only in the southern areas but also in Germany. Here Germany can help using the latest I.R: technology (HSRS Hot Recognition system) to detect and monitor fires via a LEO satellite system.
Also in the matter of national security in particular for security and surveillance needs, research is carried out by in house departments in the areas of extreme geometrical and radiometrical ground resolution initiated by LEO satellites, UAV's and aircraft. These technologies are complementary to the existing high resolution SAR radar systems.
Together with other institutes DLR possess a range of products and applications for earth observation purposes. The DLR department DLR-BA-RM-ES also contributes in the research and development area for real time data processing (heterogeneous hardware operating systems), focal plane technology (modern sensor application) in the VIS/NIR/SWIR/MIR/TIR channels, real time calibration and sensor signal processing.
Also research into lab and In-Flight-calibration are carried out. The realisation and achievement of the above is only possible with close collaboration with all other departments of OS. Presently OS together with its sub-departments relies on the revenue from its focal plan activities for funding other projects and programs.
In the future real time processing will dominate data product production in the field of sensor technology. For this process DLR conducts intensive research in an abstract general-valid description form for programmable gate structures (e.g., FPGA's) which allow to integrate the most different modules recursive and not recursive with each other to link these basic functionalities. This has created a baseline for models which permits a user to find suitable algorithms in the easiest form in hardware. Such „ system on chip [SoC] technologies “can be used for quite different applications. The standardization of modules, interface and process interfaces will simplify user application.
To optimize such systems using the heritage and knowhow gained during the BIRD development phase, new research tasks are been carried out by this department in the field of electronics, and compact & small satellites.
The long term goal for the department for the future is to build upon the technology and knowhow gained in recent programs, and to improve this by research into key areas like sensor, electronics and mechatronics so that DLR and German industry can become a major player in the international satellite market.
Some of the major projects and programs we are working on are: