Sensors & Transducers


When to use radar sensors for vehicle detection

April 2018 Sensors & Transducers

The ability to detect vehicles reliably offers significant advantages for asset management, resource allocation, site safety and traffic control. Radar sensors use frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar to detect moving or stationary targets reliably. These include cars, trains, trucks and cargo in extreme weather conditions. They have a number of advantages for vehicle detection:

Long range detection: Radar sensors are ideal for long-range outdoor applications up to 40 metres. Many radar sensors can also be configured to detect objects up to a specified distance, ignoring objects beyond the set point and resulting in higher accuracy.

Immunity to ambient weather conditions: Unlike photoelectric or ultrasonic sensors, radar sensors are not affected by conditions such as wind, rain, fog, light, humidity and air temperature. This results in accurate detection in outdoor environments. For example, trains create difficult environments for mechanical and technical equipment to operate properly. Passing trains create excess wind, dirt, debris, and potential for impact. A radar sensor can reliably detect the presence of trains even in harsh conditions. Similarly, a radar sensor can also be used to detect the presence of large trucks reliably at an outdoor loading dock even in extreme weather conditions.

Flexible mounting: For train detection applications, a radar sensor offers many advantages including flexible mounting. Because a radar sensor does not need to be mounted on the train track, installation and maintenance are safer and easier compared to other sensing technologies. In addition, since radar sensors are not mounted on the tracks, the devices are at a lower risk of damage due to high impact.

It can be challenging for radar sensors to detect smaller targets as well as vehicles with little separation between them (such as in bumper-to-bumper traffic). For this reason, a common application of radar sensors is to detect train cars, which are both large and predictable.

For more information contact Brandon Topham, RET Automation, +27 (0)11 453 2468, brandon.topham@retautomation.com, www.retautomation.com


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