ARBRES: light-weight CW/FM SAR sensors for small UAVs

Sensors (Basel). 2013 Mar 6;13(3):3204-16. doi: 10.3390/s130303204.


This paper describes a pair of compact CW/FM airborne SAR systems for small UAV-based operation (wingspan of 3.5 m) for low-cost testing of innovative SAR concepts. Two different SAR instruments, using the C and X bands, have been developed in the context of the ARBRES project, each of them achieving a payload weight below 5 Kg and a volume of 13.5 dm3 (sensor and controller). Every system has a dual receiving channel which allows operation in interferometric or polarimetric modes. Planar printed array antennas are used in both sensors for easy system integration and better isolation between transmitter and receiver subsystems. First experimental tests on board a 3.2 m wingspan commercial radio-controlled aircraft are presented. The SAR images of a field close to an urban area have been focused using a back-projection algorithm. Using the dual channel capability, a single pass interferogram and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) has been obtained which agrees with the scene topography. A simple Motion Compensation (MoCo) module, based on the information from an Inertial+GPS unit, has been included to compensate platform motion errors with respect to the nominal straight trajectory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aircraft*
  • Algorithms
  • Environmental Monitoring*
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Interferometry* / instrumentation
  • Interferometry* / methods
  • Motion