Autonomous vessel can use 76 GHz radar for safe navigation

76 GHz Short-Range Marine Radar for Autonomous Ships and Icebreakers

76 GHz Short-Range Marine Radar for obstacle free navigation of autonomous ships, icebreakers and tugs
Autonomous and remotely controlled ships as ideal platform for ELVA-1 76 GHz short-range marine radar / Image source https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/rolls-royce-cargo-ships/

ELVA-1 SDM360-76 is a short-range marine radar with all-round visibility. It is designed for installation on icebreakers, large sea tugs, rescue vessels, as well as any vessels with automated collision free navigation system.

This digital short-range radar is a precise sensor for unmanned technological platforms for commercial vessels. Remote controlled or fully autonomous ships in commercial use require to run a constant survey the area around the ship for obstacle avoidance procedures.

The absence of a blind zone allows ELVA-1 SDM360-76 radar to measure the distance between the vessel and possible obstacle (other vessels around, port facilities, coastline) within the range from 0 to 300 m (up to 0.162 nmi) with a very high accuracy.

SDM360-76 operates within 76–81 GHz band permitted by FCC for high precision short-range vehicular radar (SRR) applications according to the document: FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, 47 CFR Parts 1, 2, 15, 90, 95, and 97, [ET Docket No. 15–26; FCC 17–94], Permitting Radar Services in the 76–81 GHz Band.

SDM360-76 radar helps to control the icebreakers, large sea tug or rescue vessels closer to ships during ice escort or mooring.

SDM360-76 radar has low radiation emission (up to 100 mW) for safe operation on board of the vessels, in the territory of commercial ports, on sea routes in caravans. The radiation with a power of 100 mW is several times lower than the radiation from a conventional mobile phone (compare to 300 mW for the latest iPhone models). Radiation density at a distance of several meters falls below a minimum to be measured.

The antenna has circular rotation with directional pattern to measure the distance up to 300 m (0.162 nautical miles) from the radar. The waves on the water surface do not interfere with the radar’s field of view.

SDM360-76 radar in terms of its functionality is a distance sensor, the output of which is a digital signal. In addition to indicating the distance from its own side to the target, the radar can display a radar picture of the near-field zone around the vessel (in the range from 180 to 360 degrees). For data visualization it is necessary to use additional software (supplied separately).

The max efficiency of the SDM360-76 radar is achieved when the radar output data are integrated into the vessel’s navigation system, including the remote or autonomous one.

76 GHz radar operates in the millimeter wave spectrum, has no weather restrictions, unlike laser rangefinders. Easy penetration of the fog, dust, smog, smoke, water vapor is provided. In addition, the operation of the radar is not affected by direct sunlight or ship searchlights.

The advantage of the technological solution of the SDM360-76 radar is scanning the near-field zone “to its own side” with a high resolution and regardless of weather conditions. In this it differs from traditional 3 GHz or 9 GHz marine radars, which have a significant blind zone.  

76 GHz SDM360-76 Marine Radar Specification

Distance measurement range 0 – 300 m (0 – 0.162 nmi)
Range resolution ± 0.075 m
Digital data output  Yes
Antenna rotation speed 0.5 rev / s
Radar frequency 76.5  ± 0.5 GHz
Modulation FMCW
Max output power on the transmitter 100 mW
Antenna type Built-in
Beam width in the horizontal plane 2 degrees
Beam width in the vertical plane  15 degrees
Output Interface 100Base-Tx UTP Ethernet
Protective radome included  Yes
Environment protection class IP65 / IP67
Environment operating temperature -40 to +50 °С
* Consumed electrical power 100 W, 18-36 V DC
*Internal heater is intended to keep radar electronics inside the case at comfortable temperature. It starts automatically when the ambient temperature comes below 0 °С.