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UAV-borne X-band Radar for MAV Collision Avoidance

Publication Type:

Conference Paper


SPIE Defense, Security + Sensing 2011 (2011)


RADAR; collision avoidance; target identification; National Airspace System; Unmanned Systems


Increased use of Miniature (Unmanned) Aerial Vehicles (MAVs) is coincidentally accompanied by a notable lack
of sensors suitable for enabling further increases in levels of autonomy and consequently, integration into the
National Airspace System (NAS). The majority of available sensors suitable for MAV integration are based on
infrared detectors, focal plane arrays, optical and ultrasonic rangefinders, etc. These sensors are generally not
able to detect or identify other MAV-sized targets and, when detection is possible, considerable computational
power is typically required for successful identification. Furthermore, performance of visual-range optical sensor
systems can suffer greatly when operating in the conditions that are typically encountered during search and
rescue, surveillance, combat, and most common MAV applications. However, the addition of a miniature radar
system can, in consort with other sensors, provide comprehensive target detection and identification capabilities
for MAVs. This trend is observed in manned aviation where radar systems are the primary detection and
identification sensor system. Within this document a miniature, lightweight X-Band radar system for use on a
miniature (710mm rotor diameter) rotorcraft is described. We present analyses of the performance of the system
in a realistic scenario with two MAVs. Additionally, an analysis of MAV navigation and collision avoidance
behaviors is performed to determine the effect of integrating radar systems into MAV-class vehicles.