Needed a Radar to distinguish between Humans and Animals

The Directorate of Defense Research & Development in The Israeli Ministry of Defense (“Mafat”) announced its new competition, MAFAT Radar Challenge, for the development of capability to accurately distinguish between humans and animals in radar tracks? The winner will receive $40,000. The competition’s objective is to explore automated, novel solutions that will enable classification for humans and animals with a high degree of confidence and accuracy.

While some object types are easily distinguishable from one another by traditional signal processing techniques, distinguishing between humans and animals, which are non-rigid objects, tracked in doppler-pulse radars, is a difficult task. Today, the task of classifying radar-tracked, non-rigid objects is mostly done by human operators and requires the integration of radar and optical systems.

Why is this a difficult task?

Classification of radar-tracked objects is traditionally done by using well-studied radar signal features. For example, the Doppler effect (Doppler shift) and the radar cross-section (RCS) of an object can be utilized for the classification task, however, from the radar system’s perspective, looking at the tracked objects through the lens of those traditional features, humans and animals appear very similar.

Microwave signals travel at the speed of light but still obey the Doppler effect. Microwave radars receive a Doppler frequency shifted reflection from a moving object. Frequency is shifted higher for approaching objects and lower for receding objects. The Doppler effect is a strong feature for some classification tasks, such as separating moving vehicles from animals. However, humans and animals are typically moving at the same range of velocities.

The radar cross-section (RCS) is a measure of how detectable an object is by radar. An object reflects a limited amount of radar energy back to the source, and this reflected energy is used to calculate the RCS of an object. A larger RCS indicates that an object is more easily detected by radars. Multiple factors contribute to the RCS of an object, including its size, material, shape, orientation, and more.

The RCS is a classic feature for classifying tracked objects. However, it turns out that the RCS of humans is similar to the RCS of many animals; thus, RCS alone is not a good enough separating feature as well. The task of automatically distinguishing between humans and animals based on their radar signature is, therefore, a challenging task.

The objective of the competition is to explore whether creative approaches and techniques, including deep convolutional neural networks, recurrent neural networks, transformers, classical machine learning, classical signal processing, and more, can provide better solutions for this difficult task.

Mafat is interested in approaches that are inspired by non-radar fields, including computer vision, audio analysis, sequential data analysis, and so on. It provides real-world data (I/Q Matrix), gathered from diverse geographical locations, different times, sensors, and qualities (high- and low-signal to noise ratio—SNR). The competitor’s mission is to identify whether the segment of the tracked object is an animal or a human.

US Army Chose RADA’s Radars for Counter-Drone Systems

Above: Rafael’s Counter-drone system incorporates RADA’s Tactical Radar

The US Army has selected the tactical radar of RADA Electronic Industries from Netanya, Israel, for its Counter-Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (C-sUAS) systems. The Army has defined four C-sUAS categories: fixed/semi-fixed systems, mounted/mobile system, handheld systems, and command & control.

RADA’s radars are the incumbent radar system in the L-MADIS platform which was selected as the mounted/mobile system, and are incorporated in part of the recommended fixed solutions, along with other fixed solutions deployed across the US. While not relevant to handheld systems, RADA’s radars are compatible with the recommended command and control systems.

Next-generation Tactical Radars

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that the US Army preferred not only the most up-to-date existing technologies, but those new and emerging technologies currently in development. “We are in advanced development stages of our next-generation tactical radars that aim to address future challenges at highly affordable performance-to-price points.”

According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), in FY2021, the Department of Defense (DOD) plans to spend at least $404 million on counter-UAS (C-UAS) research and development and at least $83 million on C-UAS procurement. In December 2019, DOD streamlined the Department’s various counter-small UAS (C-sUAS) programs, creating a the Joint C-sUAS Office (JCO). On June 25, 2020, Maj. Gen Sean Gainey, director of the JCO, announced that seven C-sUAS defensive systems and one standardized command and control system are to be further developed.

How to Tackle Drones

C-UAS can employ a number of methods to detect the presence of hostile or unauthorized UAS. The first is using electro-optical, infrared, or acoustic sensors to detect a target by its visual, heat, or sound signatures, respectively. A second method is to use radar systems. However, these methods are not always capable of detecting small UAS due to the limited signatures and size of such UAS.

A third method is identifying the wireless signals used to control the UAS, commonly using radio frequency sensors. These methods can be—and often are—combined to provide a more effective, layered detection capability. Once detected, the UAS may be engaged or disabled. Electronic warfare “jamming” can interfere with a UAS’s communications link to its operator.

Jamming devices can be as light as 5 to 10 pounds and therefore man-portable, or as heavy as several hundred pounds and in fixed locations or mounted on vehicles. UAS can also be neutralized or destroyed using guns, nets, directed energy, traditional air defense systems, or even trained animals such as eagles. DOD is developing and procuring a number of different C-UAS technologies to try to ensure a robust defensive capability.

RADA began the Production of Radars in The US

RADA Electronic Industries from Netanya, Israel, announced the manufacture of the first radar in its United States-based production line in Germantown, Maryland. To mark this milestone, Maryland Congressman David Trone visited the facility to welcome the new RADA employees and celebrated the delivery of its MHR radar to the US Marine Corps.

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that the US subsidiary has enabled RADA “to Americanize and adapt our technologies for the needs of the US military. Our radar systems are already embedded in the US Army and US Marine Corps’ current SHORAD (Short Range Air Defense) solutions, and we look forward to further empowering US defense agencies with our active protection solutions.”

Rada has developed a family of compact software-defined Tactical Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars based on Active Electronically Scanned Array antennas. They offer a wide range of operational missions: Vehicle Active Protection Systems, Hostile Fire Detection, Counter-UAV, all-threat air surveillance, 3D perimeter surveillance, and more.

Arbe Raised $32M for New Automotive 4D Radar Chipset

Arbe from Tel-aviv, announced the closing of $32 million in Round B funding for its 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution. Arbe will use the funding to move to full production of its automotive radar chipset, which generates an image 100 times more detailed than any other solution on the market today.

Founded in 2015 by an elite team of semiconductor engineers, radar specialists, and data scientists, Arbe has secured $55 million from leading investors, including Canaan Partners Israel, iAngels, 360 Capital Partners, O.G. Tech Ventures, Catalyst CEL, AI Alliance, BAIC Capital, MissionBlue Capital, and OurCrowd. Arbe is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and has offices in the United States and China.

The Tel-aviv based company has developed a 4D Imaging Radar Chipset Solution, enabling high-resolution sensing for ADAS and autonomous vehicles. Arbe’s technology produces detailed images, separates, identifies, and tracks objects in high resolution in both azimuth and elevation in a long range and a wide field of view, and complemented by AI-based post-processing and SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping).

Its Phoenix radar chip supports more than 2000 virtual channels, tracking hundreds of objects simultaneously in a wide field of view at long-range with 30 frames per second of full scan. The company believes its solution pose a low cost alternative to the current LiDAR sensors in ADAS Systems and the future Autonomous Vehicles.

Google Pixel 4 Smartphone Includes Infineon’s Radar Chip

The announcement of Google Pixel 4 and Google Pixel 4XL smartphones in October 15, 2019 may not be a huge event for the smartphone industry, but for radars based chips – it is a major change. For the first time, a complete radar in chip is embedded into a smartphone allowing new type of applications and 3D gesture control of the device. To achieve this, Goggle went to Europe, to acquire Infineon’s new BGT60TR13C radar chip.

Infineon has developed a 60 GHz radar chip, based ob its earlier version, the 24 GHz BGT24MTR radar chip. Using an integrated antenna system, BGT60TR13C radar chip appears on a very small area (5 x 6.5 mm) coupled with low power consumption. It senses the presence and movement of people and objects with high precision or measures distances and speeds in an angular scan of 120° and distance ranging from few millimeters up to 5 meters. This chip is the base for Google’s Soli technology and has now been integrated for the first time into a smartphone, so that it can also be controlled by gestures.

“This is a revolution in the human-machine-interaction,” said Andreas Urschitz, Division President for Power Management and Multimarket at Infineon Technologies. “At Infineon, we are furthermore working on the fusion of multiple sensors to simplify interaction and increase the usefulness of the devices.”  According to Mordor Intelligence report, the radar sensors market was valued at USD 8.6 billion in 2018, and it is expected to reach USD 22 billion by 2024, registering a CAGR of approximately 20%. The main drivers for this market are the rapidly increasing automation, such as autonomous driving and the Industry 4.0. Until now nobody considered smartphones as a driver for this market.

Tactical Radars of RADA Gain Momentum

RADA Electronic Industries from NETANYA, Israel, is emerging as a Radar company following series of orders for its tactical radar systems. During June 2019, the company received $7 million in new orders, most of them to be delivered in 2019. Out of these new orders, five million are for RADA’s software-defined AESA  (Active Electronically Scanned Array) radars for counter UAV and vehicle protection.

Two million are follow-on orders for RADA’s legacy avionics, including digital video recorders, core avionics units, and ongoing maintenance services. In total, the accumulated value of new orders for the first half of 2019 is $26 Million. It also includes approximately $5 million new orders of AESA radars aimed to be embedded in counter-UAV systems.

Dov Sella, RADA’s CEO, said that radars are the company’s growth engine. “The solid momentum of new orders, especially for our tactical radars for the maneuver force, is ensuring the 2019 revenues forecast of over $40 million which implies growth of over 40% year-over-year, driven primarily by sales of tactical radars. It also gives us confidence that growth will continue in 2020.”

RADA’s Compact and Multi-Mission Hemispheric Radars are software-defined, AESA, configurable radar platforms, in a small form factor aimed to be used in a variety of missions. Among them detecting of all types of aerial vehicles (including UAVs of all groups) and missiles, rockets and mortars. Active Protection Solutions for Combat Vehicles and Hostile Fire Location Systems by detecting and tracking Rockets, Artillery, Mortars, ATGMs, RPGs, Low-QE Rockets and Small Arms, and border and perimeter surveillance systems.

Vayyar Launched a Single-Chip Automotive Radar

Vayyar Imaging from Tel Aviv, announced the launch of its first automotive 4D point cloud application on a single radar chip. 4D point cloud transforms radar technology by constructing a real-time, high-resolution 4D visualization of both in-cabin and car exterior environments. Vayyar’s Radar on a Chip (ROC) has 48 transceivers at 76-81GHz which allows over 2,000 virtual channels. The chip also consists of an internal DSP for real-time signal processing.

This new chip is a variation of its basic technology of 3D radar in a chip. Its former chips consisted of  40 Transceivers array (40 Tx/Rx) and a 72 transmitters and 72 receivers array chip, covering the imaging and radar bands from 3GHz-81GHz with  in one chip. The new CMOS SoC from the company is dedicated to Automotive applications. Along with the antenna array, it creates point cloud which displays the dimension, shape, location and movement of people and objects, enabling the classification of the car’s environment.

“Vayyar is the first to close the gap between the robustness of radars and the resolution of LiDAR and optics,” said Ian Podkamien, Director of Automotive Business Development for Vayyar Imaging. “Our real-time, 4D point cloud solution can work in any environmental condition. We believe our sensors will create a shift in the way the automotive industry will use radar in the future.”

Vayyar is already working in cooperation with big industry leaders. Together with Mini-Circuits, it offer microwave transceiver project kits for for students and university programs in electromagnetic theory, RF/microwave engineering, RF systems, and radar technology. Valeo chose Vayyar’s technology for its automotive sensors to enhance infant passenger safety in vehicles, and Faurecia, one of the world’s leading automotive technology companies, has recently chosen Vayyar’s radar sensors for their automotive “Cockpit of the Future.” The two companies will work together to optimize vehicle safety with constant monitoring and automatic alert services.

Vayyar Imaging was established in December 2011 by the chairman and CEO Raviv Melamed with VP Research and Development Miri Ratner and CTO,Naftali Chayat. Melamed previously held the role of VP and GM of the Mobile Wireless Group at Intel Corp. On December 2017, Vayyar have closed a $45 million financing round co-led by Walden Riverwood and ITI. It brought total capital raised by the company to $79 million USD.