Radar Challenge 2020


Hosted by 2020 IEEE International RADAR Conference, Washington DC, USA

Announcing the Radar Challenge

The Radar Challenge is a new event co-hosted with radar conferences that enable participants to experience the magic of radar in a personal, tangible and experiential way—offering an opportunity to create and “see” invisible radar waves interacting with their environment. The event will host an unknown target scene that participants will then sense and decipher using their self-engineered “home-brew” radar. The goal is to build a community of radar builders that collectively explore the art of the possible in making “COTS-based” radars.

The Challenge

At the conference, a challenge area will be set up comprising a curtain with a number of stationary & moving objects hidden behind it. The participants will be required to sense behind the curtain and detail the scene as accurately as possible. The participants will be judged on their ability to sense, accurately depict, & describe what is behind the curtain with more credit being allocated to inexpensive, novel, and innovative systems. Team entrants are encouraged. Each entry will be required to submit a concept paper to compete for the challenge awards to be presented at the conference.

Challenge Criteria

Criteria Weight
Collection, Performance & Analysis 60%
Design Ingenuity 15%
Performance/Price Ratio 10%
Packaging / Reproducibility 10%
Demonstrated Performance 25%
Overall Cost Pass/Fail/td>
FCC Part 15 Compliance Pass/Fail
Paper / documentation: 40%
Bill of Materials 20%
Hardware & Software Design Overview  20%


  • Systems can only be constructed from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) must include source & price
  • Systems must be compliant with FCC part 15 (https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/rfdevice)
  • The scene will be made available at the start of the conference & taken down prior to the banquet.


Maximum Value Radars COTS BOM < $75
State of the COTS Art Radars COTS BOM < $3k


The following deadlines apply to the challenge:

  • 30/01/20 Submission of four-page concept paper
  • 29/04/20 10:00 AM – Sensing Results Submitted


Anyone can submit their results, but participants will be judged based on the published criteria. Anyone suspected of cheating will be disqualified. First, second and third prizes will be awarded for each category. Submitted results will be displayed, the winners announced, and prizes awarded during the banquet dinner. The winning entries will also be published in the IEEE AESS Magazine.

Submission Instructions

Each team should submit a four-page concept paper in order to qualify for the challenge event at the conference. The deadline for submitting the concept paper is 30th January 2020 and the papers should be submitted by email to (Click to show email) and (Click to show email). The concept papers should clearly describe the design that the team is taking as well as include the planned Bill of Materials (BOM).

Concept Papers

  • J.Dougherty and S. Stone: Improved Candar Concept Paper
  • J. Dougherty and S. Stone: Low-Cost COTS Radar Concept Paper
  • S. Flandermeyer, R. Kenney, H. Kim, K. Konyalioglu, A. Pham, and C. Schone: An All-COTS Automotive Radar for SAR Imaging and Target Classi cation Concept Paper
  • H. Malik and J. Burki: "Radar-a-thon" Concept Paper
  • J. Shafner, S. Sandor, A. Brunell, E. Dieckman: "Radar-a-thon" Concept Paper
  • S. Song, Y. Deng, C. Duan, R. Xie, K. Luo: Moving and Stationary Target Detection based on TI's IWRA1843BOOST Platform Concept Paper
  • A. Speed, M. Ritchie: PRINCESS Radar System Concept Paper
  • S. Stone: Cheap X-Brand Radar based on RTL-SDR and TV Downconverters Concept Paper
  • J.Vermeersch, C. Brady, M. Kunkel, T. Beard, B. Kistler, S. Jones, J. Gallagher, and J. Cross: Economical, Modual COTSRadar Concept Paper | Slides
  • M. Woollard, A. Bannon, M. Ritchie, and H. Griffi ths: RAPHAEL COTS Radar Concept Paper | Slides

Prize Sponsorship


One SDR-KIT 2400AD2 radar kit - https://ancortek.com/sdr-kit-2400ad2


Two uRAD devices - https://urad.es/en

MIT Lincoln Lab

RFbeam Microwave GmbH K-LC2 Dual Channel Radar Transceiver modules - https://www.rfbeam.ch/product?id=5


RSA306B USB spectrum analyzer - https://www.tek.com/spectrum-analyzer/rsa306

Texas Instruments

Multi-channel transmit / receive analog front end - (AFE7769EVM, AFE7444EVM or AFE7422EVM) and capture card for radar development

Complementary Mathworks Software

MathWorks, makers of MATLAB and Simulink, is offering participating teams complimentary software, tutorials, and videos. Find out more about how technical computing and Model-Based Design can help you compete.