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Radar-Based Detection and Identification for Miniature Air Vehicles

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


IEEE Multi-Conference on Systems and Control (MSC), Denver, CO, USA (2011)


It is claimed that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
(UAVs) used for civilian/public domain applications will be dominant
in the near future. Compared to UAVs used by the military,
civilian UAVs are often operated by pilots without formal
training, and hence they require increased levels of autonomy
and intelligence, especially with regard to reducing threats to
public safety. UAV integration into the National Air Space will
require that the UAVs support multiple, complementary
sense-and-avoid mechanisms, including detection and identification
of other UAV-sized targets. Currently, the majority of available
sensors are based on infrared detectors, focal plane arrays,
optical and ultrasonic rangefinders. These sensors are generally
not able to detect or identify other UAV-sized targets and,
when detection is possible, considerable computational power
may be required for successful identification. By contrast, this
paper describes the design of a light weight, X-Band (10.5GHz)
radar system for use on a small-scale (< 25 kg) rotorcraft. The
prototype radar implementation is small enough to be carried
by any miniature UAV, and it is capable of differentiating other
miniature rotorcraft by their doppler signature. In addition
to the overall hardware and software design of the prototype
system, a performance analysis of various signature matching
algorithms is presented demonstrating the capabilities of the
system in a laboratory setting.