Department for Transport Awards Plextek Funding for Vehicle Tagging Solution

Cambridge, UK – 8th August 2018 – Design and innovation consultancy, Plextek have been awarded funding by the Department for Transport (DfT) for development of a novel vehicle tagging solution for intelligent and autonomous vehicle systems.

Funded by DfT’s Transport Technology Research Innovation Grants (T-TRIG), Plextek have set out to develop a proof of concept demonstrator for a small, low-cost and ultra-low-power tag that bounces back automotive radar signals with a unique coded signature.

When this signature is detected it allows automotive radars to uniquely identify and locate objects – addressing a current challenge within the automotive sensor industry.

Chris Roff, Head of Sensor Systems, summarises the benefits:

In the future, these tags could be attached to vehicles (e.g. built into the number plate) or to roadside objects such as road signs. A unique aspect of our solution is that the tag’s power requirement is kept extremely low, which opens up a really broad range of use cases.

The tags could also allow vehicles to operate autonomously in complex environments with a higher level of confidence, in keeping with DfT’s aims for providing safe, secure and sustainable transport.”

This breakthrough in tagging technology extends the capability of standard automotive radars to allow them to uniquely identify a wide range of objects in their environment.

Information received by the radar can then be used for a number of applications including recognition of road signage and other infrastructure, identification of other road vehicles and supporting autonomous convoy operation. The technology could also be used in other transport domains, including the identification of drones and small aircraft, and the monitoring of small craft at sea in poor weather conditions.

Agnieszka Krysztul, Project Manager, concludes:

Our low-cost proof of concept embodiment has demonstrated technical feasibility and also given us a route for commercialisation in the automotive sector, where product cost will be paramount. We’re excited to be looking into these routes now so that we can share this capability within the industry.”

For more information about our work in industrial sensors, please visit our industrial sensors page.

Notes to editors

Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek designs new products, systems, and services for its clients in a diverse range of industries including defence & security, medical & healthcare, and wireless communications.

Central to its culture is the company’s ability to innovate, taking an idea from concept to market. For more than 25 years the team of consultants, engineers and project managers has turned our clients’ business opportunities into commercial success, designing, manufacturing and supplying leading-edge products. Supported by our network of suppliers, commercial partners and research organisations, Plextek is the trusted partner of choice for more than 300 commercial clients, government agencies, and ambitious start-up companies.

For images, information or interview requests, please contact: Adam Roberts via email: press@plextek.com or call: 01799 533200

Radar trials final

Cambridge, UK – 21st June 2018 – Innovation consultancy, Plextek have achieved groundbreaking results after successful air trials of a millimetre wave micro-radar designed for autonomous unmanned aerial systems (UAS).

Funded by the newly formed Defence and Security Accelerator, as part of the Autonomous Last Mile Resupply competition, Plextek has tested the performance of a low size, weight and power radar as a sense and avoid drone mounted sensor.

Operating in the 60 GHz mm-waveband, results from trials indicated that the radar can provide a range of useful information to aid navigation in complex environments.



Peter Doig, Business Manager, Defence summarises:

For a drone to perform fully autonomous flight into unknown locations, it will be necessary for the radar sensor to detect the surrounding environment in front of and beneath the drone. In this manner, our trial was a success as results showed strongly visible returns from buildings, vegetation and objects.

Looking into the future, although it is possible that a single radar could provide sense and avoid capability as well as identifying suitable landing sites; within the wider systems context, this would more likely be realised with two sensors, one forward facing and one downward facing.”

The data gathered from the trials will be analysed in Plextek’s next phase of work within the program to further help understand the radar’s performance in different scenarios and environmental conditions.

Notes to editors

Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek designs new products, systems, and services for its clients in a diverse range of industries including defence & security, medical & healthcare, and wireless communications.

Central to its culture is the company’s ability to innovate, taking an idea from concept to market. For more than 25 years the team of consultants, engineers and project managers has turned our clients’ business opportunities into commercial success, designing, manufacturing and supplying leading-edge products. Supported by our network of suppliers, commercial partners and research organisations, Plextek is the trusted partner of choice for more than 300 commercial clients, government agencies, and ambitious start-up companies.

For images, information or interview requests, please contact: Adam Roberts via email: press@plextek.com or call: 01799 533200

BrightSparks

Cambridge, UK – 10th May 2018 – James Henderson, consultant at electronic design consultancy Plextek, has been named as a winner of Electronics Weekly’s “BrightSparks, Design Engineers of Tomorrow” Award. The electronics magazine’s award, in partnership with RS Components, honors an elite class of 30 engineers for their development initiatives and accomplishments within the science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors.

With nominees chosen by a judging panel of industry experts and leaders, the BrightSparks award highlights the achievements of young engineers and students who are already making a difference in the first few years of their working lives and are showing the promise to becoming the people behind tomorrow’s innovation in their respective industries.

This award marks the culmination of years of hard work for James as he has led our technical development and capability in mm-wave micro-radar for a number of projects at Plextek, including our recent radar work into Foreign Object Detection.

Electronics Weekly’s BrightSparks 2018 is the second year the programme has been running with this year’s ceremony being held at the prestigious IET Savoy Place in London.

BrightSparks award winner, James Henderson, Consultant in Antennas & Propagation summarises:

I’m really pleased to have been selected as an EW Brightspark. I’ve been involved in many exciting and cutting edge projects at Plextek, mentored by some brilliant engineers, and it’s great to have been recognised as someone to follow in their footsteps doing something which I enjoy and I’m passionate about.”

James Henderson receiving his award, presented by Clive Couldwell, Group Editor of Electronics Weekly (left) and Lindsley Ruth, CEO of RS Components (right).

Picture courtesy of Electronics Weekly, for more information about the award please visit: https://www.electronicsweekly.com/brightsparks/

Notes to editors

Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek designs new products, systems, and services for its clients in a diverse range of industries including defence & security, medical & healthcare, and wireless communications.

Central to its culture is the company’s ability to innovate, taking an idea from concept to market. For more than 25 years the team of consultants, engineers and project managers has turned our clients’ business opportunities into commercial success, designing, manufacturing and supplying leading-edge products. Supported by our network of suppliers, commercial partners and research organisations, Plextek is the trusted partner of choice for more than 300 commercial clients, government agencies, and ambitious start-up companies.

For images, information or interview requests, please contact: Adam Roberts via email: press@plextek.com or call: 01799 533200

Conversation, Propagation and Good Vibrations

Conversation, Propagation and Good Vibrations

Marcus Walden - Technical Lead, Antennas and Propagation

By: Marcus C. Walden
Technical Lead, Antennas and Propagation

13th September 2017

Home » Antennas

During the summer, I went away on a trip to the USA and came back buzzing. My week away from the office was intense and it was a great experience but I wasn’t on holiday. This was work!

I’d flown to San Diego in order to attend this year’s IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (pictured above) and my reason for being there was to present two technical papers that I’d written and submitted about nine months earlier. After 5,478 miles and about eleven and a half hours flying time, I was ready to deliver my two ‘babies’ to the antennas and propagation community and hopefully make a small contribution to the ‘book of knowledge’.

You don’t have to write technical papers to attend conferences. There are a number of good reasons to participate including networking, sales and marketing and even self-training. The social events can be fun as well – imagine a dessert reception on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and throw in some fireworks too!

Attending a conference can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time and perhaps more so if it’s a large event. The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium typically attracts about 1,500 people from around the world. Attendees come from academia and industry; they might be young Ph.D. students, established university professors or professional engineers – a variety of people at different stages of their career.

At my first-ever symposium, I only knew one person to say hello to. The big names in the crowd were obvious – keeping up-to-date by reading technical articles and engineering books makes you aware of the ‘movers and shakers’ in your subject field – but I felt like a little fish in a vast ocean. I could have been the wallflower at the party but I made the conscious decision to talk to people and come back with a stack of business cards. Evidence to show my MD that I had been busy and maybe justification for him to sign off my expenses bill on my return to the office.

Conferences are great networking events. You get to meet people; some have familiar faces and others are new. These new contacts might lead on to future activities; for example, new research topics to explore, academic and/or business collaborations or an important sale or purchase. These activities might be fairly immediate but more often than not they occur in slow time. It’s an investment for the future.

At the end of my first symposium, my one contact had become many. I had been introduced to new people but I also made the effort to approach others. I had technical and/or business-related questions to ask and the coffee and lunch breaks at conferences allow discussions in more relaxed settings. It can be nerve-wracking to ask a question in front of a large audience and a one-to-one chat can be much more fruitful.

The main purpose of my trip to San Diego was to present two technical papers. The first was given in a twenty-minute slot, which included time for questions. I always get butterflies before a talk, so I practice beforehand until I feel comfortable with my words – I liken it to rehearsing for a school play. Awkward questions can be the stuff of nightmares for a speaker, so I try to critique my own presentation from the viewer’s perspective and imagine what questions they might have. On the day, it can help to have some quiet time to relax and water close by can soothe the dry throat should it appear during the talk.

So why would anyone voluntarily put themselves in this stressful position? If the talk is well-delivered and more so if it is well-received by the audience, there can be an immense adrenaline rush. People approach you after the talk – more networking and new contacts. Feedback can be beneficial; both positive and negative with the latter hopefully given in a constructive manner from which you can develop.

If the thought of talking in front of a technical audience is terrifying – my first-ever antennas and propagation talk was at a session with standing-room only – then a poster presentation might be more comfortable. Discussions in front of your poster are usually led by the interests of the visitor but the subsequent one-to-one interactions can be very informative for both parties. My second paper in San Diego was given as a poster presentation and I really enjoyed the experience. You can also find a few more of my papers in the Antennas & Propagation segment of this website.

Presenting at a conference can generate publicity for you and your company. It can raise the profile of your organisation and its capabilities become more visible to the outside world. As a consequence the sales process benefits. Frequently, a job – or research contract – will only sell if there is evidence of prior experience in a given technology field. Publishing papers helps establish a technical reputation and adds credibility to commercial bids.  

An important function of technical conferences is to enable the exchange of information and knowledge; usually a piece of work that is new and/or original. Examples of new work might include simulation or measurement techniques, measurement results or theories. Even if you don’t get to publish papers, attending a conference keeps you informed of current ‘hot’ technology areas and forms an important part of self-training. Where else do you find a gathering of world’s experts from whom you can learn?

Large conferences typically have multiple sessions running in parallel, so it’s impossible to attend all talks. I try to attend as many presentations as I can during the day. Some sessions are directly related to my current work but others are not; I might want to learn about a new technology area or increase my understanding of another and some talks have curious titles that draw my attention and make me want to find out more.

The presentations – including chats with speakers – are a valuable source of knowledge and understanding. I’ve returned to the office armed with ideas that have fed into designs or been investigated further. Some information provides a steer for sales and marketing. Other nuggets lie dormant to germinate at a later stage, some months or years later.

My interests cover antennas and propagation from HF (2–30 MHz) through to mm-wave frequencies, so the San Diego conference provided a rich feasting ground. For me, conferences are more beneficial than training courses. It provides an opportunity for me to recalibrate myself; to reaffirm strengths but also identify new skills and technologies to develop further.

The week in San Diego was intense. I put in long hours, listened to many talks and met lots of people. It was exciting and fun and I learned a lot. No wonder I was buzzing on my return to the office!



Image credit: IEEE Event photo: Regala Studio

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During the summer, I went away on a trip to the USA and came back buzzing. My week away from the office was intense and it was a great experience but I wasn’t on holiday. This was work!

I’d flown to San Diego in order to attend this year’s IEEE International Symposium on Antennas and Propagation (pictured above) and my reason for being there was to present two technical papers that I’d written and submitted about nine months earlier. After 5,478 miles and about eleven and a half hours flying time, I was ready to deliver my two ‘babies’ to the antennas and propagation community and hopefully make a small contribution to the ‘book of knowledge’.

You don’t have to write technical papers to attend conferences. There are a number of good reasons to participate including networking, sales and marketing and even self-training. The social events can be fun as well – imagine a dessert reception on the flight deck of an aircraft carrier and throw in some fireworks too!

Attending a conference can be a daunting experience, especially if it’s your first time and perhaps more so if it’s a large event. The IEEE Antennas and Propagation Symposium typically attracts about 1,500 people from around the world. Attendees come from academia and industry; they might be young Ph.D. students, established university professors or professional engineers – a variety of people at different stages of their career.

At my first-ever symposium, I only knew one person to say hello to. The big names in the crowd were obvious – keeping up-to-date by reading technical articles and engineering books makes you aware of the ‘movers and shakers’ in your subject field – but I felt like a little fish in a vast ocean. I could have been the wallflower at the party but I made the conscious decision to talk to people and come back with a stack of business cards. Evidence to show my MD that I had been busy and maybe justification for him to sign off my expenses bill on my return to the office.

Conferences are great networking events. You get to meet people; some have familiar faces and others are new. These new contacts might lead on to future activities; for example, new research topics to explore, academic and/or business collaborations or an important sale or purchase. These activities might be fairly immediate but more often than not they occur in slow time. It’s an investment for the future.

At the end of my first symposium, my one contact had become many. I had been introduced to new people but I also made the effort to approach others. I had technical and/or business-related questions to ask and the coffee and lunch breaks at conferences allow discussions in more relaxed settings. It can be nerve-wracking to ask a question in front of a large audience and a one-to-one chat can be much more fruitful.

The main purpose of my trip to San Diego was to present two technical papers. The first was given in a twenty-minute slot, which included time for questions. I always get butterflies before a talk, so I practice beforehand until I feel comfortable with my words – I liken it to rehearsing for a school play. Awkward questions can be the stuff of nightmares for a speaker, so I try to critique my own presentation from the viewer’s perspective and imagine what questions they might have. On the day, it can help to have some quiet time to relax and water close by can soothe the dry throat should it appear during the talk.

So why would anyone voluntarily put themselves in this stressful position? If the talk is well-delivered and more so if it is well-received by the audience, there can be an immense adrenaline rush. People approach you after the talk – more networking and new contacts. Feedback can be beneficial; both positive and negative with the latter hopefully given in a constructive manner from which you can develop.

If the thought of talking in front of a technical audience is terrifying – my first-ever antennas and propagation talk was at a session with standing-room only – then a poster presentation might be more comfortable. Discussions in front of your poster are usually led by the interests of the visitor but the subsequent one-to-one interactions can be very informative for both parties. My second paper in San Diego was given as a poster presentation and I really enjoyed the experience. You can also find a few more of my papers in the Antennas & Propagation segment of this website.

Presenting at a conference can generate publicity for you and your company. It can raise the profile of your organisation and its capabilities become more visible to the outside world. As a consequence the sales process benefits. Frequently, a job – or research contract – will only sell if there is evidence of prior experience in a given technology field. Publishing papers helps establish a technical reputation and adds credibility to commercial bids.

An important function of technical conferences is to enable the exchange of information and knowledge; usually a piece of work that is new and/or original. Examples of new work might include simulation or measurement techniques, measurement results or theories. Even if you don’t get to publish papers, attending a conference keeps you informed of current ‘hot’ technology areas and forms an important part of self-training. Where else do you find a gathering of world’s experts from whom you can learn?

Large conferences typically have multiple sessions running in parallel, so it’s impossible to attend all talks. I try to attend as many presentations as I can during the day. Some sessions are directly related to my current work but others are not; I might want to learn about a new technology area or increase my understanding of another and some talks have curious titles that draw my attention and make me want to find out more.

The presentations – including chats with speakers – are a valuable source of knowledge and understanding. I’ve returned to the office armed with ideas that have fed into designs or been investigated further. Some information provides a steer for sales and marketing. Other nuggets lie dormant to germinate at a later stage, some months or years later.

My interests cover antennas and propagation from HF (2–30 MHz) through to mm-wave frequencies, so the San Diego conference provided a rich feasting ground. For me, conferences are more beneficial than training courses. It provides an opportunity for me to recalibrate myself; to reaffirm strengths but also identify new skills and technologies to develop further.

The week in San Diego was intense. I put in long hours, listened to many talks and met lots of people. It was exciting and fun and I learned a lot. No wonder I was buzzing on my return to the office!



Image credit: IEEE Event photo: Regala Studio

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