Ball Aerospace lands exclusive camera manufacturing agreement

BOULDER — Ball Aerospace signed an exclusive license agreement to be the sole manufacturer for certain cameras for the defense and aerospace industries.

Ball will manufacture the Geiger-mode avalanche photodiode, or GmAPD, light detection and ranging (LIDAR) cameras in a license agreement provided by Argo AI, which acquired the former manufacturer of the technology, Princeton Lightwave Inc., on Oct. 17.

The technology is critical to non-conventional imaging and intelligence as well as surveillance and reconnaissance systems, all used by the U.S. Department of Defense. They are also used for space and other government missions.

“For more than 40 years, Ball Aerospace has been providing advanced imaging capabilities to government and commercial customers and securing the rights to this camera technology greatly complements our current portfolio,” Rob Freedman, vice president and general manager of tactical solutions for Ball Aerospace, said in a prepared statement. “Geiger-mode LIDAR cameras provide unique sensing capabilities and high-resolution imaging, which enable and protect our warfighters to keep our nation safe.”

The GmAPD camera technology creates accurate 3-D representations of wide-area terrain, which allows the ability to “see through” dense foliage and other things that might obscure at a long distance. The camera provides LIDAR systems the ability to perform in aerial coverage with precise time-of-flight measurement capability.

Ball Aerospace will manufacture three options of the cameras in Colorado, with the opportunity to expand upon existing technology to meet future needs.