Patent Number: 6,254,035

Title: Synchronized docking system

Abstract: A synchronized target subsystem for use in an automated docking system for docking a chase vehicle with a target vehicle wherein the chase vehicle is provided with a video camera for feeding digitized frames to an image processing unit which feeds signals to a control circuit. The control circuit turns on the video camera to digitize a background frame which will include the target vehicle. After the camera grabs the background frame the control circuit turns on a light, which is carried by carried on the chase vehicle and aimed at the target vehicle, and signals the video camera to digitize a foreground frame. A light sensing circuit on the target vehicle receives the light from the chase vehicle and connects a power supply to lights on the target vehicle such that when the foreground frame is digitized the Lights on the target vehicle will show in the foreground frame. The image processing unit subtracts the background frame from the foreground frame and provides a docking signal.

Inventors: Howard; Richard T. (Huntsville, AL), Book; Michael L. (Huntsville, AL), Bryan; Thomas C. (Huntsville, AL)

Assignee: The United States of America as represented by the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

International Classification: B64G 1/36 (20060101); B64G 1/64 (20060101); B64G 1/24 (20060101); B64G 001/64 ()

Expiration Date: 07/03/2018