The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate (S&T) today awarded Echodyne Corporation of Bellevue, Washington $200,000 to begin the final testing phase as part of S&T’s Silicon Valley Innovation Program (SVIP).
Echodyne received its award for its Metamaterials Electronically Scanning Array (MESA) technology. Metamaterials is a field of study that involves engineering artificial materials to have properties that are not found in nature. MESA uses metamaterials to build a new architecture for fully electronic scanning radar systems.
“Cost, size, weight, and power (C-SWaP) is always a concern when deciding on technology investments,” said Tim Bennett, Air Based Technologies Program Manager in S&T. “Legacy radar arrays require an expensive, complex, and often heavy phase shifter to direct radar beams. Echodyne developed MESA to electronically steer a radar beam with high fidelity and fast directional changes with lower C-SWaP.”
By not requiring large electronics, the MESA radar has the potential to integrate into small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) and to be used in other DHS missions. This integration could enhance the capabilities of end-user operators, such as U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
“Throughout its first three phases with SVIP, Echodyne demonstrated the MESA radar’s performance over flat and scrub terrain, which is common on the southern border,” said Melissa Oh, SVIP Managing Director. “With this new award, Echodyne will test its technology’s functionality in foliated areas and will ruggedize it for other varied terrains to ensure the system is viable for the wide array of landscapes on American borders.”
In addition to testing the adaptability of the sensor system, Echodyne will develop training materials and conduct a training class for field agents.
Companies participating in the SVIP are eligible for up to $800,000 of non-dilutive funding to adapt commercial technologies for homeland security use cases.