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Seeing beyond the perimeter with radar technology

Seeing beyond the perimeter with radar technology
Radar and lidar technologies are not only advancing, but also growing in application. While lidar is more known for its use in the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) market for driverless cars, it also has applications in industries such as defense.
Radar and lidar technologies are not only advancing, but also growing in application. While lidar is more known for its use in the advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) market for driverless cars, it also has applications in industries such as defense. Radar, however, has a background of being used for security and surveillance applications, particularly at airports, seaports, military bases and borders.

Regionally, North America lead the market in 2017. Europe follows with “ongoing technological advancement and replenishment programs of security and surveillance radar” as major contributing factors to growth, according to a recent report by Zion Market Research (ZMR); APAC is the fastest growing region.

When it comes to perimeter security, radar can provide significant benefits for identifying intruders. The global security and surveillance radar market will reach nearly US$10.6 billion by 2024, up from $7 billion in 2017, estimates ZMR. Market growth is mainly attributed to an increase in navigation radars used by unmanned air vehicles (UAVs), as well as increased demand for more lightweight, energyefficient radars.

Most Used Verticals

The demand for both radar and lidar technologies continues to increase. One reason is due to recent occurrences of perimeter intrusions at airports, which have caused major disruptions to flights and resulted in a damaged reputation and costly PR for crisis management, according to Phil Avery, MD of Navtech Radar. Critical infrastructure sites are also looking to reduce security costs and lower the number of unnecessary false alarms.

While lidar can be used for perimeter detection it is better suited to verticals where a shorter range of detection is required, and adverse weather is not an issue, such as industrial buildings or indoor applications.

However, radar is an ideal choice for perimeter security in large, open sites, as it is very robust, and performs well in poor meteorological conditions or harsh environments. Additionally, the long detection range is most beneficial on sites where wide-areas both inside and outside the perimeter require reliable detection.

“If the area to be protected is in the middle of a forest and surrounded closely by trees or other taller objects, radars would not be the best security choice. Thus, any vertical in an open area that requires cost effective, persistent surveillance benefits from radars,” said Bill Drafts, Director of Force Protection and Integrated Solutions Product Marketing for the Government and Defense Business Unit at FLIR Systems

“This includes, but is not limited to, critical infrastructure, high-end residence, dams, ports, airports, prisons, borders, military installations, stadiums, government buildings, power generation and substations. All these verticals can and do utilize radar technology for perimeter security. The persistent coverage, all-weather day and night operation, smaller size, longer range, cost effectiveness and relative covertness all contribute to their adoption and use,” Drafts added.

In terms of installation, since both technologies can be mounted on existing infrastructure it also keeps disruption and costs to a minimum.

Advances in Radar Technology

Zion Market Research stated that “technological advancements in radar systems may disclose new avenues for the security and surveillance radar market in the near future.”Growing demand for both radar and lidar technologies has resulted in companies continuously developing technologies to suit the specific needs of buyers.

Advances in radar technology, improved target classification algorithms, reduction of price points and ease of use have accelerated their adoption for perimeter surveillance, according to Drafts.

“As drones have become part of the threat landscape, radars, such as the FLIR Ranger series have evolved to detect them as well. Traditionally, perimeter surveillance radars were ground based, meaning they had an elevation beam width of 5 degrees or less with the radars aimed to detect any ground intruders. Radar technology has recently evolved to also detect airborne threats, like commercial drones, with beam elevations of 20 to 60 degrees. This increased beam elevation provides nearly hemispherical detection of both ground and airborne threats,” Drafts explained.

Navtech Radar recently enhanced its AdvanceGuard system, the company’s high-definition radar security surveillance solution, so it can now also include a “friend or foe” option.

“The system uses rules-based detection, so legitimate activity is filtered out and false alarm rates are kept to a minimum. The system analyzes behavior, differentiating legitimate activity such as an authorized worker vehicle, from intruders and threats,” Avery said.

“Unlike some radar and lidar systems, AdvanceGuard allows for ongoing situational awareness of the entire event, providing operators with the exact location of an intruder in real time. Its early detection feature is crucial for complex sites, such as airports, where intruder interception is required prior to a security breach. This minimizes disruptions which can be time consuming, costly and dangerous to the operation of the site,” Avery added.

With these technologies advancing, and with companies working hard to develop the best solutions for their clients, applications for radar in perimeter security are sure to continue growing in the years to come.
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