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The term “RADAR” was officially coined as an acronym by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Commander Samuel M. Tucker and F. R. Furth in November 1940 — it stands for Radio Detection and Aiming.

Radar is generally thought of as electronic equipment that detects the presence of objects by using reflected electromagnetic energy. Under some conditions a radar system can measure the direction, height, distance, course and speed of these objects.

The frequency of electromagnetic energy used for radar is unaffected by darkness and also penetrates fog and clouds. This permits radar systems to determine the position of airplanes, ships, or other obstacles that are invisible to the naked eye because of distance, darkness or weather.

Modern radar can extract widely more information from a target’s echo signal than its range. But the calculating of the range by measuring the delay time is one of its most important functions.

Like Sound-Wave Reflection

The electronic principle on which radar operates is very similar to the principle of sound-wave reflection. If you shout in the direction of a sound-reflecting object (like a rocky canyon or cave), you will hear an echo. If you know the speed of sound in air, you can then estimate the distance and general direction of the object. The time required for an echo to return can be roughly converted to distance if the speed of sound is known.

Radar uses electromagnetic energy pulses in much the same way.

A related remote sensing technology called LiDAR (light imaging, detection and ranging) uses pulsed laser light to measure distances. These light pulses — combined with other data recorded by the airborne system — generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

RADAR versus LiDAR Components

A lidar instrument principally consists of:

  • A laser
  • A scanner
  • A specialized GPS receiver

The components of radar include:

  • Transmitter
  • Duplexer
  • Receiver
  • Display Unit
  • RADAR Antenna

Airplanes and helicopters are the most commonly used platforms for acquiring LiDAR data over broad areas.

Radar applications are found in various systems such as Air Traffic Control to track planes both on and off the grounds. It is used to track satellites and proves extremely beneficial to the armed forces to detect enemy activity and to guide weapons. Additionally it can be also used to detect storms, hurricanes and tornadoes.

Want to know more about radar and LiDAR? Tonex offers Fundamentals of RADAR and LiDAR Systems, a 2-day course that coves the basics and concludes with a discussion on how to build an AI model, some of the common tools, and the key challenges.

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.

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