SZU’s UAV radar imaging tech achieves lab success

Writer: Huang Huiyu, Wang Jingli  |  Editor: Zhang Chanwen  |  From: Shenzhen Daily  |  Updated: 2022-06-23

The experiment on single-bit radar imaging technology, carried out by a radar perception team from Shenzhen University (SZU) for the past eight years, was declared successful for the first time in the world Friday, Shenzhen Evening News reported.

Huang Lei, leader of the radar perception team, called this UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) single-bit radar imaging technology as “the radar version of aerial photography technology,” which could save time and costs while producing images in high definition, compared to the traditional high-resolution radar imaging technology.

There is a huge amount of high-resolution radar imaging data, which requires high ability for data acquisition, storage, transmission, processing and more. “For instance, there will be hundreds of gigabytes of data that needs 3 to 5 hours to store, transmit and process, but will only take 20 to 30 minutes using the UAV,” said Zhao Bo, a team member who is responsible for the radar imaging technology.

Single-bit radar imaging, however, can reduce the amount of data by more than 50% at the same resolution. It pursues less data to achieve the same performance, which is different from the trend where radar technology pursues multibit and high precision.

Huang believed that this pioneering technology that can be applied in fields including rescue and disaster relief, intelligent driving, intelligent logistics and smart city would make a breakthrough in the structure of radar receivers and existing radar patterns.

For a long time, UAV remote sensing imaging, affected by factors such as light, fog and haze, has limited application scenarios. The new radar technology developed by SZU’s team, however, has all-day detection capabilities (compared with optical cameras) and has stronger transmission ability than laser radar. So, the new technology can work in bad weather conditions such as smoke, rain, fog and haze, and be applied to a wider range of scenarios.

Due to a few documents available for the new radar technology, the research team was questioned many times in the early stage of the study. To break through the bottlenecks of the technology, Zhao was thinking even when walking and eating, and spend 12 hours a day in the laboratory.

Zhao said that “whenever I get an idea, I become too excited to eat and sleep in order to verify my ideas. But the previous assumption will be always overthrown after verification, so I have to do it all over again.”

“Our team grew out of nothing, from weak to strong. Some people quit halfway, but most of them insisted. Looking back, it was a very hard journey,” Huang said.

“We have a responsibility to contribute to our country. This tech is the first of its kind in the world. In the past five years, we published over 20 academic papers on single-bit radar technology, applied for 18 invention patents with eight authorized, and undertaken numbers of national scientific research projects. All of these make us proud,” Huang added.