Why are models for the range performance calculation needed?
A multitude of factors must be considered in the development and use of modern electro-optical systems. Not only the characteristics of the system, but also the prevailing atmospheric conditions and the current appearance of the observed object determine the actually achievable performance.
Often, we are interested in the so-called “range performance” of the electro-optical system with regard to a particular perception task (typically detection, recognition or identification). The range performance is the maximum target-observer distance at which an observer can perform the perception task - using the electro-optical system - with a specified success probability.
For an electro-optical system that is still in the design phase, the range performance can naturally not be assessed by field or laboratory experiments. Nevertheless, it plays an important role in the selection of suitable components. But also for existing electro-optical systems, it is desirable to avoid costly experiments, for instance when analyzing the performance for a scenario that differs from the one the system was originally designed for.
Essential performance parameters of electro-optical systems are accessible through analytical models and imaging simulations. The usage of analytical models, such as TRM4, has the big advantage of obtaining results for a large number of system configurations and environmental conditions with low computational effort. However, they are based on a comparatively abstract and simplified description of the target and background as well as the human perception process.