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Radar System Detects Sub-Miniature Drones with AI


Radar System Detects Sub-Miniature Drones with AI


Counter drone technology is making some serious progress. The Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) at South Korea announced having developed a radar system that can detect sub-miniature drones that are 3km away, on July 16. It was developed by Senior Researcher Dae-gun Oh and his team at the Collaborative Robots Research Centre.

This research is expected to strengthen capabilities of the domestic and defense industries by securing a world-class radar sensing technology.

In the aftermath of having discovered a North Korean drone in Paju in March 2014, South Korea’s Ministry of National Defense adopted drone detection radar based on an overseas technology. Since last year the ministry has been developing a combat system using drones and training specialized personnel besides forming a drone unit to strengthen its defense capability. South Korea is using many radar systems from abroad such as drone detection radars from RADA in Israel and Blighter in the U.K. RADA especially owns a superior radar technology performance that can detect drones that are a maximum of 3km away.

In 2016 the DGIST team for the first time developed Korea’s first radar system that can detect drones 200m away algorithm using Korean technology only. Through continuous research since 2014 DGIST Senior researcher Daegun Oh’s team successfully developed a world-class radar system that can detect sub-miniature phantom drones flying in the sky over 3km.

The research team designed the drone detection radar system to operate between 12GHz and 18GHz, and applied super-resolution radar signal processing technology to locate drones accurately by applying an AESA or Active Electronically Scanned Array radar technology to enhance the maximum detection distance range of radar. Additionally the radar system can identify and detect drones more clearly in real-time by integrating ‘GANs (Generative Adversarial Networks’2) -based drone cognition technology, which has already been drawing attention as the next generation deep learning algorithm.

The hardware components such as the transmission antenna, receiving unit, receiving antenna, and signal processing platform inside the radar detection system were developed 100% by Korean small and medium-sized companies which will also help create high-added value to regional industries.

The DGIST team at Collaborative Robots Research Centre said “This research achievement is a result of cooperation with Korean companies to develop radar hardware and our focus on the development of a unique radar signal processing algorithm for detection, tracking, and identification of drones. We will strive harder to enhance the reputation of domestic radar technologies in the global market by changing the market spectrum led by overseas companies.” The research team is currently discussing the issue of drone detection radar technology transfer to Korean and overseas defence industries.

The AI radar identification technology in this research achievement was published on the world-class radar journal IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters on June 18. Also, papers on the element technology of drone have also been published on Microwave and Optical Technology Letters, IEEE Sensors, IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronics Systems, MDPI Sensors, etc.

This research was conducted jointly by senior researcher Daegun Oh’s research team at DGIST and Professor Youngwook Kim’s research team in the University of California, U.S. with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT from 2017.

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Cite this article as: Vidi Nene, "Radar System Detects Sub-Miniature Drones with AI," in, July 25, 2019,

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