Cognitive Radar Systems

Cognitive radar is one of the latest trends in radar technology. A cognitive radar may be loosely defined as one that follows the perception-action cycle.

That is, the sensor has the intelligence required to “perceive” its surroundings from the radar echoes it records, as well as flexibility to adapt its transmit/receive parameters or its position to take optimal “action” in order to maintain performance as the environment around it changes. The link between scene perception and optimal action is often aided by manifestations of artificial memory.

Diagram illustrating the cognitive radar concept.
Figure 1. Cognitive radar concept.


Lead investigator


PhD students

Ellis HumphreysEllis Humphreys

Pamandeep Sangha

Cognitive radar systems for robotic platforms

A direct application of cognitive radar systems in the SENSYS group at MISL is on robotic platforms for sense-and-avoid. We are building systems employing short-range radar sensors for collision-free navigation, and testing those with robotic platform demonstrators in near real-time. This is especially important in hazardous environments where radar is the best or even the only sensing solution, and in confined environments where the complexities of scattering combined with the relatively poor spatial resolution require a departure from conventional radar signal processing.

Our PhD students have been recognised for this work through international conference awards twice, while our latest journal paper on the topic that was in the top 10 downloaded papers of the IET Proceedings in Radar, Sonar and Navigation for the year 2020-2021.

In parallel, we are studying how natural echolocators can perform such tasks, and how inspiration can be drawn from them to design improved artificial echolocating devices such as radar and sonar systems. Our particular focus is on human echolocators, and we are delighted to be conducting multi-disciplinary research with cognitive neuroscientist colleagues at Durham university.

Cognitive radar systems for improved detection

We have been working closely with BAE Systems through multiple EPSRC iCASE awards to derive cognitive radar architectures for improved target detection in complex scattering environments.

For more information on these projects, see one of our students (Ellis Humphreys) talk about his research below