The radar integration challenge
Further development of radar sensors is unlocking many possibilities for the security sector. But security equipment manufacturers have trouble implementing the technology in their own products. They often lack the expertise and development resources required for employing radar. Integrating the technology involves a few hurdles that can hardly be overcome without radar know-how.
Because radar is complicated.
Only a few companies are specialised in this technology worldwide. They employ experts who have the necessary expertise to deal with radar. Their expertise builds on years of learning and experience. Experts are scarce. Security equipment manufacturers rarely have such radar specialists within their own company. Even big-name companies are dependent upon expert assistance.
Complex radar applications are gradually picking up steam and boast greater reliability, precision, and functions. They also thrill security companies. However, implementing the radar component requires the security equipment manufacturers to invest time and labour. Radar integration is a challenge.
What makes the integration of radar so difficult?
Besides minor difficulties such as hardware compatibility and the right choice of product, signal processing is by far the greatest issue faced during integration. This starts with the right choice of processing method, which depends on the characteristics of the radar. Without in-depth knowledge, it is impossible to correctly analyse detections.
The following aspects require relevant radar expertise:
Preventing interference signals and erroneous detections
Like any measuring technology, radar does not always provide clean results. Erroneous detections have to be recognised and corrected. Depending on the radar operating principle, bandwidth, distance, environmental factors, and object, the raw data has numerous specific effects. While useful signals such as the Doppler effect help to detect an object, interference signals lead to redundant or incorrect detections. This must be taken into account in digital signal processing in order to ensure uncontaminated data. Using algorithms, the system reliably differentiates the system between useful and interference signals.
Filtering out irrelevant detections
In order to implement more complex radar functions, extensive algorithms must be developed. This involves application-specific filtering of radar data. In the security area, it is not sufficient to simply eliminate interference signals. The aim is to focus on particular events. The system has to sort out detections triggered by animals, bushes, rain, or wind. However, this goes well beyond basic algorithms.
Classification of objects
In addition to filters, the identification and observation of objects is an important aspect of digital signal processing. This requires classification and tracking using algorithms. For this purpose, machine learning processes are required. The technology is increasingly developing in the direction of artificial intelligence in order to detect patterns. Coupled with the depiction of object data, this results in a high labour costs in terms of software development.
Application test and configuration
For application-specific signal analysis, quite a bit of time must be invested in application tests. Subsequent adaptations based on the findings gained from this help to optimise the signal processing and tracking. These tests under real conditions are extremely cost- and labour-intensive.
Processing of data volumes in real time
With complex radar systems featuring many channels, high volumes of data ensue. In the field of security technology, it is important that these be processed in real time. Delayed or interrupted transmission increases the security risk. In order to overcome this challenge, a suitable technical solution has to be found and implemented without being subject to losses. Data processing must also be dealt with intensely.
Implementing the aspects of radar integration entails extensive and long development work. Most radar technology companies develop only the front end or simple radar systems that run on merely basic algorithms, that digitalise the analogue signals and filter out rough erroneous detections. They usually do not cover more demanding functions such as object tracking, pattern recognition or classification. Until now, in-depth signal processing has often hit a snag due to the producers of the finished security application. Some security equipment manufacturers therefore used to forgo complex radar applications. But with the technology’s progress, a new approach is now available to resolve the issue.
Easier integration with advanced radar solutions.
In recent years, the radar experts have been making use of the latest technical findings available in the field of software development. Signal processing has increased significantly in importance. It allows ever more complex tasks to be performed via radar in a cost-effective manner. As a result, the trend is tending towards radar products that dare to take another crucial step towards the end product: from a radar component to a radar system.
These systems feature advanced signal processing. They provide cleaned data, filtering out erroneous detections or interfering signals. ‘Phantom tracks’ are already taken into account during development. The systems also boast useful filter functions. These enable the user to focus on important events and to hide everything unimportant.
The advanced systems have helpful functions and thus improve the user-friendliness for end users. They are already optimally tuned and proven to meet the needs of the application. The measurement results are reliably retrievable and increasingly precise. In order to develop such products, radar technology companies are expanding their range of tasks more and more. For example, they are taking on elaborate application tests and the development of algorithms.
This preliminary work simplifies radar integration enormously. Security equipment manufacturers can use the system for their product without extensive radar knowledge or integration work. This accelerates the crucial time-to-market phase and facilitates access to the technology.
The Smart Tracker from InnoSenT
The iSYS-5021 radar system constitutes just such an innovation for the security industry. The available tracker license includes comprehensive signal processing and the useful features of the Smart Tracker. System integrators used to have numerous radar detections shown to them and then correctly attributed them to an object and separated them. This task is now tended to by the tracking function. The radar system clusters individual radar detections into objects and tracks them over time. The persons’ line of movement is visualised using the tracks.
Important filter functions and object classifications are also available: the system differentiates between persons and vehicles and reliably filters out interfering factors such as rain or wind. Using a user interface, the user can set up various configurations very easily and individually. For example, they define alarm and ignore zones in order to focus on monitoring certain areas. The radar experts have already successfully carried out the many necessary application tests in order to calibrate the system and have optimally adapted the system to perimeter use and monitoring large-scale outdoor facilities.
You can learn more about the product here.