How radar and the critical infrastructure industry converged

Joe Morgan

Did you know: The first practical radar system was produced in 1935 by the British physicist Sir Robert Watson-Watt, and by 1939 England had established a chain of radar stations along its south and east coasts to detect aggressors in the air or on the sea. Over the next several years, radar evolved into water-based and ground-based systems for the military.

Since then, radar has continued to evolve as a practical tool used in a number of industries, including critical infrastructure. In this area it’s mainly been utilized for marine and ground-based applications, marine applications utilizing longer systems for vessel tracking and some systems positioned on critical oil platforms or ports of entry to track and verify vessels. These radar systems sometimes have long range cameras—thermal and visible—to verify targets that are indicated by the radar.

By 2009, a lower cost radar system was introduced to the commercial market with a price point of around $12,000. These new lower-cost systems caught on in the critical infrastructure arena and provided an additional layer of detection at the perimeter of facilities. Coupled with slue to que cameras, radar completed a nice system for detecting, verifying and tracking targets within a determined range.

But that was nearly 10 years ago. Today, new radar systems have emerged to take radar technology several steps further, allowing ground and air detection in one form factor. These new systems can have a nice range out to 2,000 feet and provide an excellent field of view, which helps detect and track fast moving drones. These newer ground and air radars address the need for drone detection in a complete system.

Development of other new, low cost, short-range radar (between 0 to 165 feet and in the price range of $1,400) for the critical infrastructure industry are filling a nice gap and supplementing existing security systems as an additional layer or placement. These radars are IP based/POE, which complement your existing IP security network at the perimeter or inside the perimeter to secure assets. Low cost radar can be used in a number of critical infrastructure verticals. Two such vehicles are electrical substations and oil and gas platforms for tracking and movement in restricted areas.

Our next topic will focus on new technology being used and developed for the oil and gas markets. We will discuss applications and solutions for the rapid growth in oil and gas and the IoT. Please feel free to send me comments or applications you have experienced that could be used in this discussion.