We consider offering radar altimeter for UAV's

Hi everyone

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?

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Replies

  • Hi Oyvind
    I'm wondering how you've gone with developing a radar altimeter for UAVS?
    How does cost, weight, range, accuracy compare with sonar and lidar currently available?
    Cheers
    Mike
    • Hey Mike,

      We're not pursuing that idea anymore. But the technology is available, just not as an out-of-the-box solution. Check out xethru.com if you want to pursue the idea yourself.

      Best,

      Oyvind

  • I have gotten the feeling that people working with UAV's are quite technologically capable people (at least on this forum).

    We have started playing around with the thought of offering an open-source hackable radar altimeter. It would come in the form of a radar module with software for providing general purpose altitude measurements with a certain specification.

    For those who have special requirements like longer ranger, faster update speed, better accuracy, collision avoidance or things like that, they would be able (with a bit of programming knowledge) to customize the device to their own preference.

    Do you think a more OEM radar module with customizable altimeter software would be a better fit for the UAV market than a finished closed box that just measures altitude and nothing else?

    Oyvind

  • I think the cost would have to be pretty low ($100-200) to make this work.  

    We already have sonar which is cheap and accurate, and works at the ranges we need.  A decent sonar unit can go 10 feet or so, which is good enough for altitude hold and takeoff/landing.  Once you're in the air GPS altitude is good enough since you don't need very precise altitude.

    With GPS altitude, barometric altitude, and sonar I don't see that radar would be all that useful.

  • Oyvind,

    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.

    -Phillip

  • Would the resolution permit the id of a nearby copter at 3000' without too much wattage? SloopDoc

  • Hello,
    this is a very good Idea but the cost is a joke! you can accomplish the same ting with Xban Motion Detector the concerns are weight and range.
    http://www.parallax.com/Store/Sensors/ObjectDetection/tabid/176/Pro...
  • Uyvind,

    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.

    -Don

  • How about on-board radar for detecting other aircraft viewed through osd for fpv?

  • Would like to see a solution for using a quad to fly a pre-mapped path of a building envelope to gather science data but this needs some fairly good height control and object avoidance.  The resolution needs to be of a scale that for each building logged is the same within say a 10% +/- tolerance as this is what thermal standards call for.  A range that takes over from the ultrasonic sensor to say 100m or does away with ultrasound altogether and just plugs it into that port so the radar output just looks like the ultrasonic sensor so no code changes are required.

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