Radar system sensitive enough to detect drones 3 km away

Tiny drones are difficult to detect, but a new radar system gives them no place to hide
Tiny surveillance drones are difficult to detect, but a new radar system gives them no place to hide (Bing)

Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science And Technology (DGIST) has developed a radar system that can detect subminiature drones that are 3 km away. This research is expected to help strengthen domestic industries and defense capabilities by securing a world-class radar sensing technology.

The research team from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science And Technology (DGIST) that developed the drone detection system.
The research team from Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science And Technology (DGIST) that developed the drone detection system.

As a result of discovering a North Korean drone in Paju in March 2014, South Korea's Ministry of National Defense has adopted a drone detection radar based on an overseas technology. Up to now, South Korea has used radar systems from abroad, such as drone detection radars from RADA in Israel and Blighter in the U.K.

Since 2014, DGIST senior researcher Daegun Oh's team has continuously been developing a drone detection radar system based on a very high resolution algorithm using only Korean technology. The team developed Korea's first radar system that can detect drones 200 m away for the first time in 2016, and now have designed a world-class radar system that can detect phantom drones flying in the sky over 3 km.

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The researchers designed the drone detection radar system to operate between 12 GHz and 18 GHz, and applied high-resolution radar signal processing technology to locate drones accurately by applying an AESA radar1 technology to increase the maximum detection distance of radar. Furthermore, the radar system can identify and detect drones more clearly in real-time by integrating GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks) -based drone cognition technology, which has been drawing attention as next generation deep learning algorithm.

The radar system’s hardware components, such as the transmission, transmission antenna, receiving unit, receiving antenna, and signal processing platform inside the radar detection system were developed jointly with Korean small and medium-sized companies.

“This research achievement is a result of cooperation with Korean companies to develop radar hardware and our focus on the development of a unique radar signal processing algorithm for detection, tracking, and identification of drones,” said senior researcher Daegun Oh from the team in the DGIST Collaborative Robots Research Center, in a statement. "We will strive harder to enhance the reputation of domestic radar technologies in the global market by changing the market spectrum led by overseas companies."

The AI radar identification technology in this research was published in the world-class radar journal IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters on June 18. Also, papers on the element technology of drones have been published on Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, IEEE Sensors, IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronics Systems, MDPI Sensors, etc.

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