SAR in Drone

Low-weight full-polarimetric SAR in Drone

Airborne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors have been commonly used during the last decades to monitor different phenomena in medium-scale areas of observation, such as object detection and characterization or topographic mapping. The use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) is a cost-effective solution that offers higher operational flexibility than airborne systems to monitor these type of scenarios. The Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has developed the first fully polarimetric SAR system at X-band integrated into a small UAV Multicopter Platform (UAV MP). The sensor, called AiRBased REmote Sensing (ARBRES), has been integrated into the platform overcoming restrictions of weight, space, robustness and power consumption. The ARBRES-X SAR system represents an evolution of a previous version developed by the Remote Sensing Laboratory of the UPC. ARBRES-X is a SAR sensor that operates at 9.65 GHz, working with a Stepped Linear Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (SLFM-CW) signal. The complete system has been designed to be fitted in small UAVs, as is the case of the UAV MP. This has imposed strong constraints in its design in terms of weight, power consumption, compactness and robustness.

Marc Lort (PhD) working hard on the platform

Antonio Escartin & Marc Lort preparing the System

The radar is mounted in an octocopter with the supplementary electronics

RF front end of ARBRES-X. Different planar circuits are placed in a mechanized aluminium box of 110 × 90 × 30 mm3. The bottom of the box includes the biasing network and part of the Base-Band circuitry

SLC of the copolar channel HH of the sorroundings of RACBSA Airfield (Ripollet, Barcelona). Different corner reflectors (bright spots) can be clearly distinguished in near range

Different Corner reflector are deployed along the scenario for radiometric calibration, Motion Compensation and image geocoding

A previous ARBRES-X in a RC scale model of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter. In this experiment we used ARBRES-X in Single-Pass interferometric configuration

Phase Map (in rad) from an interferometric measurement in single-pass mode over the scenario of RACBSA airfield obtained with the PILATUS PC-6

Motion Compensation (MoCo) is a must for having high quality SLC images

SLC of Ripollet before (left) and after (right) the Motion Compensation algorithm is applied