Scientists at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have developed a chip that allows new radar cameras to be made a hundred times smaller than current ones.
With this NTU technology, radar cameras that usually weigh between 50 kg and 200 kg and are commonly used in large satellites can be made to become as small as palm-sized.
Despite being small, they can produce images that are of the same high quality if not better compared to conventional radar cameras. They are also 20 times cheaper to produce and consume at least 75 per cent less power.
Developed over the past three years at NTU, the promising technology has already secured S$2.5 million in research funding from Singapore government agencies.
The radar chip has attracted the attention of several multinational corporations, and is now being researched for use in Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and satellite applications.
Assistant Professor Zheng Yuanjin from NTU’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering who led the research, said that the size and effectiveness of the chip will open up new applications not possible previously.
“We have significantly shrunk the conventional radar camera into a system that is extremely compact and affordable, yet provides better accuracy. This will enable high resolution imaging radar technology to be used in objects and applications never before possible, like small drones, driverless cars and small satellite systems,” said Asst Prof Zheng.
Advantages over current technology
Current radar camera systems are usually between half and two metres in length and weigh up to 200 kg. They cost more than US$1 million on the market and can consume over 1000 watts in electricity per hour, the energy equivalent of a household air-conditioning unit running for an hour.
Known as Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), these large radar cameras are often carried by large satellites and aircrafts that produce detailed images of the Earth’s surface. Objects longer than a metre, such as cars and boats, can be easily seen by the radar camera mounted on an aircraft flying at a height of 11 kilometres.
Unlike optical cameras which cannot work well at night due to insufficient light or in cloudy conditions, a radar camera uses microwaves (X-band or Ku-band) for its imaging, so it can operate well in all weather conditions and can even penetrate through foliage.
These detailed images from radar cameras can be used for environmental monitoring of disasters like forest fires, volcano eruptions and earthquakes as well as to monitor cities for traffic congestions and urban density.
But the huge size, prohibitive cost and energy consumption are deterrents for use in smaller unmanned aerial vehicles and autonomous vehicles. In comparison, NTU’s new radar chip (2mm x 3mm) when packaged into a module measures only 3cm x 4cm x 5cm, weighing less than 100 grams.
Production costs can go as low as US$10,000 per unit, while power consumption ranges from 1 to 200 watts depending on its application, similar to power-efficient LED TVs or a ceiling fan.
It can also capture objects as small as half a metre which is twice as detailed as the conventional radar camera used in large aircrafts or satellites.
Potential applications of the new radar chip
Asst Prof Zheng said that when mounted on UAVs, it can take high quality images on demand to monitor traffic conditions or even the coastlines for trespassers.
“Driverless cars will also be able to better scan the environment around them to avoid collisions and navigate more accurately in all weather conditions compared to current laser and optical technologies,” he added.
“Finally, with the space industry moving towards small satellite systems, such as the six satellites launched by NTU, smaller satellites can now also have the same advanced imaging capabilities previously seen only in the large satellites.”
Large satellites can weigh up to 1,000 kg, but microsatellites weigh only 100 to 200 kg.
The Latest on: Radar cameras
via Google News
The Latest on: Radar cameras
- Commercial Vehicle & Off-Highway Radar Market Projected to Reach $831 million by 2027on May 12, 2020 at 1:21 pm
The report "Commercial Vehicle & Off-Highway Radar Market by frequency (24-GHz & 77-81 GHz), component (LRR, S&MRR, Mono Camera, and Stereo Camera), vehicle (CV & Off-highway), Application (ACC, AEB, ...
- Sony ZV1 vlogging camera leak suggests it'll have Sony's best video featureon May 12, 2020 at 8:50 am
Rumors about a Sony ZV1 vlogging camera started swirling last week, and now a new leak has suggested the compact could well be en route – along with some very promising video sk ...
- Police to use smart cameras, radar cars to tackle dangerous drivingon May 11, 2020 at 1:36 am
Paul Broer, the new national infrastructure project manager at the police, plans to make use of new technology in the fight against dangerous driving behavior. He is looking into using things like ...
- 7 under-the-radar hijabi bloggers you should know abouton May 8, 2020 at 10:31 am
For the Muslim community, fashion's attempt to be inclusive has focused on pushing pre-existing modest wares instead of understanding the global community.
- Samsung Galaxy S30 may be the best camera phone of 2021, according to leakon May 7, 2020 at 12:38 pm
This leak comes from Sammobile, a website with a good track record of reporting on upcoming Samsung devices, which claims that Samsung has been testing out a number of different camera setups for the ...
- The secret pleasures of under-the-radar chats during video conference calls on Zoom, Skype, Facebook Messenger or Google Meeton May 6, 2020 at 10:40 am
Passing notes in class’ moves into the electronic age as private chats are carried on during video conference calls.
- COVID-19: Edmonton photo radar tickets up 17 per cent in 2020 as city calls for ability to seize vehicleson May 4, 2020 at 4:37 pm
More than 141,000 photo radar tickets have been issued to Edmonton drivers so far in 2020 — an increase of 17 per cent from 2019. Of the 141,223 photo radar tickets issued by the city between Jan. 1 ...
- Global and China Automotive Millimeter-wave (MMW) Radar Industry Report, 2019-2020on May 4, 2020 at 7:30 am
Millimeter wave radar installations soared by 44.37% year-on-year in 2019 and were available in more scenarios, encroaching on Lidar and ultrasonic. Read the full report: Automotive radar wins ...
- Low-power radar chip uses spiking neural networkson May 2, 2020 at 11:07 am
Ocket commented, “One scenario we are currently exploring features autonomous drones that depend on their on-board camera and radar sensor systems for in-warehouse navigation, keeping a safe distance ...
- Ottawa delays launch of photo radar in school zones due to COVID-19on April 30, 2020 at 11:50 am
The City of Ottawa tells CTV News Ottawa the photo radar cameras in school zones will be activated when school resumes following the COVID-19 pandemic.
via Bing News