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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2017, Article ID 8029364, 15 pages
Research Article

Low-Cost Mini Radar: Design Prototyping and Tests

1Demography, Migration & Governance Unit, Directorate for Space, Security and Migration, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission, Via E. Fermi 2749, 21027 Ispra, Italy
2Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale, Politecnico di Torino, Torino, Italy

Correspondence should be addressed to Ciro Gioia; ue.aporue.ce@aioig.oric

Received 8 March 2017; Accepted 10 May 2017; Published 20 July 2017

Academic Editor: Francesco Dell’Olio

Copyright © 2017 Dario Tarchi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Radar systems are largely employed for surveillance of wide and remote areas; the recent advent of drones gives the opportunity to exploit radar sensors on board of unmanned aerial platforms. Nevertheless, whereas drone radars are currently available for military applications, their employment in the civilian domain is still limited. The present research focuses on design, prototyping, and testing of an agile, low-cost, mini radar system, to be carried on board of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) or tethered aerostats. In particular, the paper faces the challenge to integrate the in-house developed radar sensor with a low-cost navigation board, which is used to estimate attitude and positioning data. In fact, a suitable synchronization between radar and navigation data is essential to properly reconstruct the radar picture whenever the platform is moving or the radar is scanning different azimuthal sectors. Preliminary results, relative to tests conducted in preoperational conditions, are provided and exploited to assert the suitable consistency of the obtained radar pictures. From the results, there is a high consistency between the radar images and the picture of the current environment emerges; finally, the comparison of radar images obtained in different scans shows the stability of the platform.