Altimeter based on radar, inertial and atmospheric pressure systems for aerial, acrobatic and unmanned vehicles.

Summary of the technology

The Intelligent Systems Research Group of the University of Alcalá presents an altimeter based on radar, inertial and atmospheric pressure systems for aerial, acrobatic and unmanned vehicles. It is a sensor capable of measuring height with respect to the ground integrating radar, barometric and inertial technologies.

The group seeks to achieve licensing, collaboration or commercial agreements with technical assistance, with companies or research groups related to the aeronautical and aerospace sector.

Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

Details of the Technology Offer

The present invention provides an altimeter in any range of heights, from near the ground to the operating heights of the vehicle and with any permitted warp angle value, a method for determining low altitudes and a calibration system, all based on:

- Radar technology and antenna radiation diagrams

- Barometric sensors

- Units of Inertial Measurement (IMU)

In addition, it allows to obtain reliable measurements in any flight attitude, using procedures based on:

- Weighted fusion of data received from barometric sensor, IMU and radar

- Subtraction of nearby and stable signal links

- The tracing or tracking of the height measurement obtained

- Use of a passive hemispherical radiation diagram or active to the ground

As shown in Fig. 1 of the section "Additional information", the system object of this invention is formed by the following elements:

  1. A user interface consisting of a display to visualize the height values, alarm configuration selection buttons (for example, maximum height overshoot, landing gear warning threshold, etc.) and a MicroSD card reader to store the data generated during the flight.
  2. A processing and control system, together with the IMU / barometric sensor block.
  3. A radio system where the radar signal is generated, transmitted and received, with a semi-sphere shaped radiation diagram in the case of passive antennas or ground-oriented with active antennas.

As for the mode of operation, a radio emission is generated in the device which serves to measure the reflection delay received using digital filtering and processing procedures. Simultaneously readings of a barometric and inertial sensor are made that allow complementing and correcting inherent errors to the measurements of the radio signal.


Altimeters existing and described in the state of the art determine the distance of the vehicle to the ground when the attitude of the aircraft allows the radiation pattern to illuminate the ground, so they do not provide good results with 90º buckles or higher. They are more expensive and less accurate at heights near the ground. And they do not accurately measure height when vehicles are acrobatic.

  • The present invention however provides an altimeter in any range of heights, from those close to the ground to the heights of the vehicle operation and any warp angle value.
  • IMU and barometric sensors are also included as a complement to the radar for the calculation of height measurement in situations where the quality of the radar signal falls below a certain threshold.
  • They detect obstacles during take-off, flight and landing more precisely.

Nothing has been found in patent databases or scientific literature consulted.


In this sense, the invention seeks to cushion some of the drawbacks of the existing altimeters by the following competitive advantages:

- Price reduction

- Lightness

- Accuracy at low altitudes

- Reliability and safety

Current development status

Finished technologies

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Patent application number : The patent has been applied to the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office under the application number P201500317

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Technology development

New technology applications

The group seeks to reach licensing, collaboration and commercial agreements with technical assistance, with companies or research groups related to the aeronautical and aerospace sector.

Related Keywords

  • Industrial manufacturing, Material and Transport Technologies
  • Aerospace Technology
  • Aircraft
  • Helicopter
  • Guidance and control
  • Measurements and Standards
  • Measurement Tools
  • Sensor Technology related to measurements
  • Electronics Related Market
  • radio altimeters
  • altimeters
  • altitude
  • height
  • imu
  • barometric altimeter
  • uav

About Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

The Technology Transfer Office at Alcalá University serves as a liaison between the University and its socioeconomic environment in terms of research and innovation. It encorages collaboration between research groups from universities and companies/institutions, with the objective to promote and commercialize research results and scientific capabilities.

Some of the services offered by this office are specified in the following list:

- Promotion of R & D and improvement of the relationships with companies.
- Promote the participation in R & D projects applicants to public calls (regional, national and European).
- Advising, processing and monitoring of patents and other forms of industrial protection.
- Support in the negotiation of contracts and agreements for R&D&i

Universidad de Alcalá-OTRI

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