A U.S. firm has developed a miniaturized synthetic aperture radar (SAR)
weighing about three pounds, and taking up about as much space as a shoe box.
The new NanoSAR is also cheaper as well. SAR produces a 3-D image of what is
below and can see through foliage. Cheaper, smaller and more powerful computers
have helped reduce the size of SAR equipment over the last three decades (since
SAR was first introduced). SAR is good for detecting vehicles, and can
penetrate clouds and sand storms to show a precise image of the landform below.
The micro-SAR will make smaller UAVs more useful. The new SAR equipment is
expected to be ready for service by the end of the year. Currently, the NanoSAR has obtained data that
had to be processed on the ground. The next step is to integrate an onboard
computer to do it in real time.