Target Acquisition through Visual Recognition

An Early Model

by H. H. Bailey

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A simple mathematical formulation of the probability of an airborne observer detecing a specific object of search. The model, first presented in RM-6158/1, considers the probability of recognition to be a function of the apparent size and contrast of the target, the required search rate, and the congestion of the scene (false-target density). Each of the terms is expressed as a function of a few input parameters, and target size is the only parameter that appears in more than one term. The basic model, applicable to static situations such as search from a hovering helicopter, is then extended by an additional term to apply to flight toward the target. A further term is introduced to account for the effect of a moving target, based on R-614 and R-688 by Dugas and Petersen. This model is of wide applicability, since it deals only with the observer and the information presented to him, whether visually, with optical aids, or via sophisticated artificial sensors.

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