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Lidar-based detection and tracking of small UAVs

: Hammer, Marcus; Hebel, Marcus; Laurenzis, Martin; Arens, Michael


Buller, G.S. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
Emerging Imaging and Sensing Technologies for Security and Defence III and Unmanned Sensors, Systems, and Countermeasures : 10-13 September 2018, Berlin, Germany
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2018 (Proceedings of SPIE 10799)
Paper 107990S, 10 S.
Conference "Emerging Imaging and Sensing Technologies for Security and Defence" <3, 2018, Berlin>
Conference "Unmanned Sensors, Systems, and Countermeasures" <2018, Berlin>
Fraunhofer IOSB ()
3D object detection; 360° LiDAR scan; UAV detection; UAV tracking; scanline analysis

The number of reported incidents caused by small UAVs, intentional as well as accidental, is rising. To avoid such incidents in future, it is essential to be able to detect UAVs. LiDAR sensors (e.g., laser scanners) are well known to be adequate sensors for object detection and tracking.
In this paper, we expand our existing LiDAR-based approach for the tracking and detection of (low) flying small objects like commercial mini/micro UAVs. We show that UAVs can be detected by the proposed methods, as long as the movements of the UAVs correspond to the LiDAR sensor’s capabilities in scanning performance, range and resolution. The trajectory of the tracked object can further be analyzed to support the classification, meaning that UAVs and non- UAV objects can be distinguished by an identification of typical movement patterns. A stable tracking of the UAV is achieved by a precise prediction of its movement. In addition to this precise prediction of the target’s position, the object detection, tracking and classification have to be achieved in real-time.
For the algorithm development and a performance analysis, we analyzed LiDAR data that we acquired during a field trial. Several different mini/micro UAVs were observed by a system of four 360° LiDAR sensors mounted to a car. Using this specific sensor system, the results show that UAVs can be detected and tracked by the proposed methods, allowing a protection of the car against UAV threats within a radius of up to 35 m.