micro-radar

Vlog: Micro Radar for Unmanned Aerial Systems

Peter Doig

By: Peter Doig
Business Manager, Defence

21st May 2018

Home » Peter Doig

For a number of years now, we’ve been researching the uses of high-frequency mm-wave micro-radar for a number of different applications.

In 2017, we were awarded funding in DSTL’s newly formed Defence and Security Accelerator competition, in which we were able to develop our micro radar system further to enable an Unmanned Air System (UAS) to autonomously provide resupply of equipment from up to 30 km away.

Peter discusses how the technology has developed over the years, our progress within the program and the capability the technology brings.

Transcript

So Plextek have been researching and developing millimetre-wave 60 gigahertz micro-radar technology for the past four years predominantly working with DSTL, starting under their autonomous systems underpinning research program where we developed a radar testbed to prove the utility of the radar to enable small drones to operate in complex urban environments.

This enabled Plextek to then design and build a low-cost compact micro-radar prototype which could be included within the autonomous last-mile resupply program. So under DSTL’s autonomous last mile resupply program, a defence and security accelerator competition, we wanted to assess the performance of the micro-radar mounted on a drone so we undertook a number of trials to measure the performance of the radar against a range of terrain types and objects, including trees, hedges, powerlines and buildings and vehicles.

We successfully demonstrated the ability of the radar to detect powerlines out to 60 metres and vehicles out to 300 metres.

Moving forward, we are keen to work with partners either who are providing a UAV or an unmanned ground vehicle to optimise the radar and its various parameters for the chosen platform and then advance the radar processing to successfully demonstrate the various concept of operations that are required, for example the autonomous sense and avoid, or possibly the need and desire for accurate landing capability where we would look to link the radar with a passive radar retroreflector which could act as a beacon for the solider with regards to his resupply requirement.

However, ultimately there are lots of exciting exploitation opportunities for the radar into different defence requirements and we’re really excited about listening to those requirements from people and working with them to meet it.

For a number of years now, we’ve been researching the uses of high-frequency mm-wave micro-radar for a number of different applications.

In 2017, we were awarded funding by DSTL’s newly formed Defence and Security Accelerator competition, in which we were able to develop our micro radar system further to enable an Unmanned Air System (UAS) to autonomously provide resupply of equipment from up to 30 km away.

Peter discusses how the technology has developed over the years, our progress within the program and the capability the technology brings.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Transcript

So Plextek have been researching and developing millimetre-wave 60 gigahertz micro-radar technology for the past four years predominantly working with DSTL, starting under their autonomous systems underpinning research program where we developed a radar testbed to prove the utility of the radar to enable small drones to operate in complex urban environments.

This enabled Plextek to then design and build a low-cost compact micro-radar prototype which could be included within the autonomous last-mile resupply program. So under DSTL’s autonomous last mile resupply program, a defence and security accelerator competition, we wanted to assess the performance of the micro-radar mounted on a drone so we undertook a number of trials to measure the performance of the radar against a range of terrain types and objects, including trees, hedges, powerlines and buildings and vehicles.

We successfully demonstrated the ability of the radar to detect powerlines out to 60 metres and vehicles out to 300 metres.

Moving forward, we are keen to work with partners either who are providing a UAV or an unmanned ground vehicle to optimise the radar and its various parameters for the chosen platform and then advance the radar processing to successfully demonstrate the various concept of operations that are required, for example the autonomous sense and avoid, or possibly the need and desire for accurate landing capability where we would look to link the radar with a passive radar retroreflector which could act as a beacon for the solider with regards to his resupply requirement.

However, ultimately there are lots of exciting exploitation opportunities for the radar into different defence requirements and we’re really excited about listening to those requirements from people and working with them to meet it.

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Plextek’s micro radar system to enable autonomous resupply of emergency equipment on the front line by UAS

Cambridge, UK – 14th September 2017 – Innovation consultancy, Plextek have announced their development of a game changing technology that will have a significant impact on the way that emergency equipment and supplies are transported to the battlefield.

The company have been funded by the newly formed Defence and Security Accelerator to develop a millimetre wave micro-radar to enable an Unmanned Air System (UAS) to autonomously provide resupply of equipment up to 30 km away from the front line battlefield.

The system is planned to deliver food, water, medical equipment, fuel and even mechanical parts for vehicle repair; reducing the need of travel across potentially dangerous areas and the probability of Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) exposure.

The sensor has a major benefit that it can work in extreme weather environments and in both day and night, showing its future use in emergency response and disaster relief. When the risk of sending in recovery teams is high, this solution facilitates quick delivery of supplies and help, instantly reducing risk and improving outcomes during such situations.

Peter Doig, Business Manager, Plextek:
“The potential that this technology has will have a real impact on people’s lives, not only does it show a significant impact in the defence sector reducing danger and potential exposure to IED’s, but the benefits it could have in disaster relief, emergency response and natural disaster is really exciting. It really shows the benefits of how developments in the defence sector can have use in everyday situations.”

The sensor will be demonstrated later this year with a view to system level trials late 2018.

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

Advances in the radar technology used in unmanned aerial vehicles have been adopted for military purposes and are now bringing benefits to the commercial world.

Peter Doig, Business Manager, Defence, features on Defence Contracts Online.

To read the full article click here.

The MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) has contracted a team, led by Plextek Services including RFEL and 4Sight Imaging to tackle the problem of performing rapid evaluations of real-time image processing functions and to simultaneously demonstrate the latest adaptive capabilities that FPGA-based SoCs can deliver to defence and security surveillance applications.

Plextek features on Electronics Weekly website.

To read the full article click here.

Unmanned systems, whether aerial, land-based or marine, are taking the defence marketplace by storm, their remote technology allowing intelligence to be collected and transmitted from warzones without risking lives. Yet with this power comes ethical and commercial challenges…

Plextek features in the latest issue of MoD Defence Contract Bulletin.

To read the full printed article click here.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.