Quantum-enabled radar for better visibility and detection

Published on
January 25, 2024

Flying taxis sound like something from an old Back to the Future movie but are actually now just a short time away from being realised.

There is growing investment being poured into the autonomous vehicle sector across the world. But disruptive innovation, particularly in an unexplored field, needs discussion around governance and monitoring. Substantial air traffic is likely in dense areas such as around airports, and clear routes, as well as real-time, resilient and highly accurate monitoring systems, will be required to ensure precise situational awareness.

Researchers are developing networked quantum-enabled radar technology, which are currently being tested from the top of two campus buildings to help examine the movement of drones and birds in the airspace. The radar combines incredibly precise quantum science with compact atomic clock oscillators.

These oscillators provide the high precision and low signal noise required for the radar to detect small, slow moving objects at longer distances, and even in cluttered environments. Alongside general monitoring of airspace, quantum radar would be a crucial technology in identifying unmanned aircraft misuse which would potentially put other vehicles in the air and all those beneath at risk.



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