Is Radar a Better Option than PIR?

27.09.2022 - Motion detection with radar is more affordable due to chip and components development and independent of weather and lighting conditions.

Security equipment must hold its own in a wide variety of locations. Beyond monitoring private property and houses, the technology is also used to protect large areas, complex buildings, or borders. Security monitoring products, therefore, face requirements that may vary depending on local conditions. Generally, no two buildings and properties are alike.

The better the monitoring is adapted to conditions on site, the more reliable and efficient it is, because concentrating on one relevant security area helps reduce false alarms. This even applies to simple security needs such as motion detectors. The more focused the detection areas are and the more information available to users about the event in order to assess its relevance, the better the area can be effectively monitored.

False Alarm Triggering and High Costs: PIR or Radar?

Motion detectors are widely used. The sensors detect movements of objects or people in their field of view. They automatically transmit this information in the form of a signal to immediately trigger alarm functions, for example. This task can be managed even using low-cost technologies such as PIR. However, if the user needs more data about the motion event, that’s where radar comes into play.
This measurement technology not only detects movements, but also collects further information such as speed and direction of movement. And this additional knowledge about objects and people helps with better assessing the security risk. What’s more, the information can be used to enable additional functions to further boost the precision of security surveillance.
But radar’s greater potential functions are also reflected in its price. Security equipment manufacturers used to have the choice between expensive, advanced radar or low-cost, simple PIR products. Reliability and efficiency are particularly important when it comes to alarm and surveillance systems. Erroneous triggering caused by passers-by or wind movements aren’t welcome – nor are expensive prices. This presents a dilemma in the field of security technology. The consequence: low-cost PIR motion detectors need to achieve more, or high-priced radar products need to become more affordable.

Radars More Affordable Due to Chip and Components Development

Advances in chip technology, electronic components, signal processing, and software are having a positive impact on the pricing of radar sensors. Radar-based motion detectors are becoming more affordable and featuring greater customisation options. More and more products with attractive prices, smaller and smaller antennas, user-friendly configuration, and easy integration are conquering the market.
Radar’s improving price factor combined with its impressive functionality makes it indispensable in the security sector. And the technology is also in demand for simple motion detection use cases in the low-cost segment. After all, radar has just the right features to enable custom-tailored motion detection.

What are the Advantages of Radar for Motion Detection?

To put it simply: the more data available about the events and the environment, the more systematically adjustments can be made. And the more configuration options there are to make surveillance more efficient.
The detection range can be defined with precision. And the detection areas are individually adapted to the situation on site. By limiting the range, users can, for example, ignore adjacent properties, roads, or paths that are not relevant to surveillance. This reduces the risk of false alarms triggered by movements outside the zone to be monitored.
Thanks to the extensive detection information radar technology provides, it also allows alarm zones to be defined that trigger a function. The radar doesn’t transmit the alarm signal until an object or person is within a specified distance from the sensor or a defined area.
Advanced radar solutions also boast extensive filtering options. The measurement result can be determined more precisely using the parameters and can be cleaned up by removing certain detections. This may include wind and rain filters, for example, which ignore movements caused by the wind or detections of raindrops. Custom configurations are also possible. Among other things, users can filter out small animals based on the RCS value if required.

Determine Speed, Direction of Movement, and Distance

Innosent’s radar experts recognised the potential the technology presented for the security market and the industry’s needs early on. The company thus developed a new product series that offers added value for motion detection. State-of-the-art product design enables attractive pricing and paves the way for radar technology to enter the low-cost market.
Innosent’s products IMD-2000 and IMD-2002 are particularly well suited for motion detectors in the area of security. Their functions and properties are a perfect choice for alarm systems, light automation, and near-range surveillance.
Both sensors operate in the 24 GHz frequency band and utilise FSK radar modulation for detection. This allows you to determine the speed, direction of movement, and distance of moving objects. The included signal processing helps reduce the development effort required to use the end product. This means the products can be integrated and commissioned without in-depth radar knowledge.
In contrast to the IMD-2000, the IMD-2002 enables angle measurement to be performed. The two products are also very distinct in terms of their range and coverage area.

No False Alarms by Animals Roaming Around

A typical application for the IMD-2000 is conventional alarm systems. The radar sensor outputs the processed and transmitted signals in the form of a target list. This data regarding detected movements can be used to activate downstream electronics. The right programming enables typical alarm functions such as a notification about a security risk, activation of a video camera, an audible signal or light to deter intruders, or other security measures.
The additional distance information is used primarily to better define the area to be monitored. The distance information can be used to filter out objects or persons. By configuring the range, users can delimit areas such as the neighbouring property. Movements on the road by passing vehicles, passers-by on the pavement, or in further-away areas with animals roaming around aren’t a problem either. None of these factors have a negative impact on the reliability of security surveillance, because they don’t trigger any false detection.

Positioning Object Through Combination of Angle and Distance Determination

Motion detection is even more efficient when it takes into account distance information and angle measurement. Based on the additional data received, the detection results can be filtered using a further parameter. This enables the measurement to be adapted even more precisely to the application requirements.
The combination of angle and distance determination enables the object to be positioned. The IMD-2002 is thus predestined for area and perimeter surveillance. The sensor is sometimes just one component among many other security technologies, such as PIR or camera, all integrated into a complex surveillance system. All the information provided is gathered there in order to obtain the most comprehensive picture possible of the events. The radar also performs various tasks in area monitoring, such as starting the camera or switching on the lighting system.

Tracking: A Next Step in the Field of Security Technology

Since radar is considered to be independent of weather and lighting conditions as well as maintenance-free, users benefit from the equipment’s robustness, no matter which product they choose. If another technology should fail, users can rely on the extensive data provided by the IMD-2000 or IMD-2002.
For example, if fog makes it impossible to recognise anything in the image transmitted by a camera, the radar data continues to ensure reliable security surveillance. Another advantage for performance is the detection of attempts to tamper with the system. Both products detect if there’s an object in front of the antenna blocking the signal.
And the potential of their functionality and adaptation is far from exhausted. This is because integrators also have the option of further developing signal processing using the additional measuring parameters. A next step in the field of security technology would be tracking. Once the necessary development work is done, this feature enables the movement history of an object or person to be recorded.

Motion Detection for a More Targeted Monitoring

Both products take motion detection to the next level. Individualised security surveillance is a step forward for the security industry. The filter options boost the efficiency of the security technology, because the additional information and configurations enable more targeted monitoring. This significantly lowers the risk of false alarms. Custom motion detection improves the performance of security systems.


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