My name is Oyvind and I am one of the founders of Intelligent Agent (www.intelligentagent.no). We are a startup that develops radar technology for robotics.
We want to make radar technology available for UAV developers and are considering the possibility of offering a radar altimeter. We have most of the technology readily available and won't need too much time to finish a working prototype.
To get some input, I would like to start a discussion here to hear from you guys what your thoughts are on this.
What do YOU use an altimeter for? To keep a certain distance above ground? For autolanding? For avoiding collision with ground? Other?
And what is important for this application. Is it long range? Is it accuracy? Resolution?
Could be possible. But is this just something nice/cool to have or something that people need and would invest some cash into?
I can see this discussion going towards a fully functional Radar instead of a RADALT, to do object detection and avoidance you will have to do a sweeping radar or a phased array, its complicated , with high power consumption and will need magnificent amount of processing power that Arduino cant handle.
Please keep it as a simple affordable low weight RADALT
My interest would be for precise AGL measurement for photogrammetric sampling. Altitudes up to 100 meters; 1% (or better) accuracy; weight < 300 grams; for photogrammetry from UAV.
Also, altitudes up to 400 meters; 1% (or better) accuracy; weight not a concern; for photogrammetry from full size aircraft.
That's an interesting application that I've never heard of before. What do you use it for?
I use it for measuring animals on the ground, or in the water, with high precision.
I use an old Honeywell RT now in full-size aircraft (up to 400 meters) and depend on GPS and pressure sensor for my UAS work (up to 100 meters).
The Honeywell works great, but is big and old and requires external antennas. I would like to replace it with something small enough to integrate into the camera mount. An internal antenna would be great, but I could live with external if they don't have to be too far apart.
In the UAS, the GPS and pressure altitudes just aren't accurate enough for precision measurements, especially in remote locations. Here, I would want small and light.
I agree with others that radalt may too pricey for hobbiests, but I think there is a niche market outside the hobby community, where low cost isn't the primary concern.
This is getting OT, so maybe we should move the discussion off line. Message me with your email address if you would like to discuss it further.
The product you are linking to is a radar, but it is only a presence detector. That means it tells you if there is any movement somewhere in its range. It does not measure distance to what it detects. Therefore you cannot use it to measure altitude.
This is the case with all the cheap radar sensors I have found.
yes you are correct but a parallax laser range finder is only $100 combine them both & it can do what your system is cable of for 1 tenth the price. but you little product is verry nice just the price.
The Parallax looks cool, but it says "Optimal measurement range of 6–48 inches (15–122 cm) with an accuracy error <5%, average 3%"
6-48 inches is in a different class than sensors that detect to 60m.
Would the resolution permit the id of a nearby copter at 3000' without too much wattage? SloopDoc
Do you mean a copter that is 3000 feet away? In that case, no. The radar technology we are working with is more suited for close-range.
But the technology could be used to detect helicopter type if the copter is in the radars range. But it would require some really smart signal processing though.
I would use a radar altimeter for take-off and landing only. The specs that you mentioned would already be good enough for me, and the price point is ok, too (I'm working on commercial UAVs, not just for fun). At the moment, we're evaluating a laser altimeter, but I'd be interested in evaluating a radar module as well. Send me a message if you have more info.