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
- Best instant camera 2020: 9 fun cameras perfect for partieson February 3, 2020 at 3:50 am
Picking the best instant camera might seem easy, but there's more to think about than simply what you can afford. These cameras offer a sense of nostalgia you won't find with digital, and let you get ...
- Samsung Galaxy S20 rumored feature could fix our biggest smartphone camera gripeon February 3, 2020 at 3:04 am
Now that smartphones can have up to five cameras, with different lenses, it can be quite a struggle working out how best to take a picture – should you go for ultra-wide, or zoomed-in, or just a ...
- Release Radar: Our pick of the week's best TV, movies, and games (February 3-9)on February 3, 2020 at 3:00 am
1. Dawn of Fear is old school Resident Evil in all but name, and one of the few known PlayStation exclusives of the year Say what you want about the remakes and sequels, but the fixed camera format of ...
- New company takes over photo radar program in Sask.on February 1, 2020 at 12:56 pm
It's one of the big four when we talk about the main causes of fatalities on Saskatchewan roads." Regina faces a speeding 'epidemic' even with photo radar, says police officer While McMurchy hasn't ...
- TriEye’s Infrared Camera Helps Autonomous Cars See Through Hazeon January 31, 2020 at 7:03 am
so that means TriEye believes a camera, or at least its sensor, can be sold for $20. (Our estimate.) That’s in line with the sub-$100 cost of radar and fixed (not rotating) lidar modules. TriEye says ...
- On Our Radar: Tame Impala creates magic by rolling through the years in the one-take "Lost In Yesterday"on January 30, 2020 at 6:10 pm
Every time the camera completes a circuit of the hall, the supporting cast has magically changed clothes to suggest that time in the clip is anything but fluid. One second the wedding is a testimony ...
- Photo radar locations changing as province hires new companyon January 30, 2020 at 9:55 am
The photo radar pilot project started in 2014 and was made permanent in September 2018. The two-year pilot project cost $4.5 million, with ongoing costs of approximately $2.4 million. There are now ...
- City of Toronto photo radar cameras are sitting ducks for vandalismon January 30, 2020 at 8:56 am
Toronto’s new speed camera initiative is a great idea, as long as it’s not too easy for idiots to tamper with them. Last month the city began a rollout of 50 “automated speed enforcement cameras,” ...
- New photo radar cameras operational on Saskatchewan roadson January 29, 2020 at 2:47 pm
The five-year contract is estimated at roughly $3.7 million, according to the Crown corporation. SGI said the new cameras were switched over recently with no gap in service. Redflex’s Radarcam system ...
- Code in Google Camera app reveals plans for 'mid-range' Pixel phone that could be released this yearon January 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm
Rumors of a forthcoming budget-focused Pixel phone just got a lot more credible. In updated code discovered inside the Google' Camera app, the company makes reference to a 'pixel_20_mid_range' ...
via Bing News