Canadian collaboration aims to create next generation of SAR technology

A new research project is aiming to create a low-cost radar sensor to meet the unique challenges of search and rescue (SAR). The project, called SAR2, will be completed by Toronto-based technology company Sightline Innovation Inc. in partnership with the Department of Engineering at the University of Western Ontario.


The radar sensor is to have broad aircraft mounting compatibilities including UAS/UAV, civilian, and military SAR aircraft.

The team said they hoped SAR2 can build on Canada’s leadership in space-based synthetic aperture radar from its RADARSAT-2 and future RADARSAT constellation satellites, which deliver enhanced geographical data.

“We are beginning to push the boundary in this space with several innovative concepts in developing low-cost radar systems and are confident that Sightline is the right partner to commercialize these ideas,” said Dr. Jagath Samarabandu of the University of Western Ontario’s Department of Engineering.

When integrated into the SaRASA (search and rescue augmented situational awareness) product from Sightline Innovation’s VtiSystems subsidiary, SAR2 will allow users to process, analyze, and distribute real-time sensor information across secure mobile devices. SAR2 is an abbreviation for Search and Rescue Synthetic Aperture Radar. “SAR2’s success will enable synthetic aperture radar sensors to be mounted on a wider distribution of aircraft, due to significant cost-reduction compared to what is on the market today,” said Wallace Trenholm, CEO of Sightline Innovation.

Sightline Innovation, founded in 2006, is the parent company of VtiSystems Inc., the provider of an “Application-Specific Mobile C4ISR” platform. The SAR2 effort will integrate into the SaRASA product offering by VtiSystems. SaRASA is a mobile delivery system for mission waypoint, target and objective information, and distributes access to flight crews, on-board SAR technicians, and ground operatives from multiple organizations. SaRASA can process data feeds from a number of imagery and telemetry sources, such as: EO/IR, Synthetic Aperture Radar, RF signal detection, and data networks such as COSPAS-SARSAT. The SaRASA engine processes data from these inputs into mission intelligence such as zones or points of interest. Sightline said SaRASA’s feature-set helps focus and refine deployment plans, minimize costs and flight times, and ultimately help search and rescue operators perform their lifesaving missions.


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