UMass researchers developing improved radar system

Detection of drones, improvement of weather warnings are among system's goals

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst College of Engineering are developing a multi-purpose radar system that can detect very small drone aircraft, and also for severe weather warning for airports and urban settings.

The system is designed to scan the area closest to the ground, where drones and severe weather are not visible to the pre-existing weather radar. The National Science Foundation has given the project an 18-month, $200,000 grant.

22News spoke with Mike Zink, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at UMass, to find out what sparked their interest in this project.

“How the current existing radar system for weather observations could be improved, and that study showed observations low to the ground is not as good as it could be, and that got us going,” Zink said.

As drone use increases over the years, this new system will help detect them, especially for those who might pose a threat to the public. As for the weather, this system will help send earlier warnings.

It will take years before we see results.

You can learn more about the project here.