What is radar?

A brief insight into the basics of radar technology and radar sensors.

What is radar? What can radar sensors perform and how does radar technology work? Learn more in our brief insight into the basics of radar sensing.

RADAR: Radio Detection And Ranging

Radar detects objects using electromagnetic waves

The term radar originated as an acronym for “RAdio Detection And Ranging” in the 1940s in the U.S. Navy. A radar detects objects via electromagnetic or radio waves. The radar can not only measure the distance, but also detect the angle and relative speed of the target object – e. g. in the case of moving objects.

The electromagnetic waves generated by the radar transmitter move (approximately) at speed of light to the target object. There they are reflected and detected by the radar receiver – transmitter and receiver antennas are mostly located on the same radar chip.

What Radar captures: Distance, speed and angle

In addition, radar penetrates non-conducting materials such as plastic, cardboard, glass etc.

Now the signal is processed and analyzed to determine e. g. distance, speed and position (height or side angle) of the object depending on the radar type.

With a radar, it is possible to penetrate non-conducting materials, such as plastic, rubber, cardboard, glass, etc., since the radar waves only partially reflect these dielectric materials. On the other hand, when the radar beams encounter metals or continuous water films, they are fully reflected.

In addition, radar is well suited for measurements in conditions with dust, smoke, rain, adverse light or rough surfaces.