Optical cameras are among the most valuable technologies used in space. From visual navigation systems to remote sensing, cameras play a key role in a wide array of applications. Many of today’s endeavors, however, demand improved camera technologies enabling higher capabilities, lower costs, and increased efficiencies and robustness.
We plan to build a breadboard model of a camera that combines, for the first time, a large single-photon avalanche diode (SPAD) sensor with a novel energy-efficient, AI-on-chip algorithm capable of achieving high-dynamic range, ultra-fast imaging, and real-time, on-board image recognition and processing. This project will help us bring the technology from a TRL3 (proof-of-concept in lab) to a TRL5 (breadboard model in representative environment) in preparation for a potential in-orbit demonstration mission and a lunar mission planned for late-2024. We plan to validate the technology using quantum burst photography for in-orbit pose estimation, a potential application of our technology critical in today’s endeavor against increasing orbital debris.
If you are an EPFL student interested in this subject, check our available Semester and Master's Projects for the upcoming semester.