The use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is growing rapidly in the world. Many of them are used for reconnaissance and destruction of ground objects. Thus, it is far-reaching to find uninvited guests minutes away as early as possible. To detect UAVs, people traditionally use radar, television, thermal imaging, or acoustic systems that track the reflected radio signals, optical energy contrasts in the visible and infrared ranges of the spectrum, sound signatures. But modern UAVs are inconspicuous (small size, quiet electric motors). When the device is remotely controlled, one can intercept the radio signal, while a stand-alone UAV has no radio exchange, so this feature is also absent. Let us take, for example, barrage (ammunition) ammunition. After aiming the radio turns off, and the autonomous optoelectronic homing head gets control. Such a device becomes like a mosquito - small, independent, and even silent.
A possible method of detecting such UAVs is proposed by Professors of the Department of Computer-Integrated Optical and Navigation Systems Valentyn Kolobrodov and Volodymyr Mykytenko. Their project “Mobile optoelectronic complex for detection of unmanned aerial vehicles” became a finalist in the X International Festival of Innovation Projects Sikorsky Challenge 2021. The method core is to use the differences in the polarization properties of optical radiation from the UAV and the background (sky). The polarization of sky radiation is anisotropic, while the structural elements of the aircraft partially polarize the radiation. Therefore, you can significantly increase the contrast of the image of the device against the sky. Implemented technically this method involves observing in the visible and infrared ranges of the spectrum. The minimum set of the optoelectronic complex for detecting unmanned aerial vehicles includes a television camera with a lens with variable magnification, thermal imaging camera with polarization analyzer, video signal processing unit, computer with specialized software, computer monitor, power supply unit, and a case. One observes the sky through television and thermal imaging channels (the view field is approximately 6 ° –8 °).
In this way, the main unmasking feature is the polarization contrast of a small object on the uniform sky background. Therefore, after detecting the object in the TV channel, a target gets a marker. Then, you can zoom in on the image on the computer screen for a more detailed analysis. The main operation mode is to work with a level of illumination enough for the TV channel. You can also work at night with limited visual observation, however.
The science club team “Optical-electronic surveillance systems for various purposes” is developing the proposed idea under the leadership of its founder - Professor, Laureate of the State Prize of Ukraine Valentyn Kolobrodov. The club was founded in 1979 by the Ministry of Defense Industry of the USSR, based on the Faculty of Instrumentation Engineering of Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, together with the plant Arsenal (Kyiv), initiated the branch research laboratory for developing optoelectronic systems. Over the years of its work, the science club has trained 10 doctors and 23 candidates of technical sciences, published dozens of scientific monographs and textbooks in Ukraine, Germany, and China.
The team is developing and currently consists of more than 40 active researchers, teachers, graduate students, and students. One of the recent club-themed ventures is the NATO SPS G5526 project - EXTRAS-Explosive Trace Detection funded by NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme. In addition to Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute scientists, the project also includes researchers from Italy, Germany, Serbia, and the Netherlands.