New Radar Tech Could Change the Way We Navigate Waterways

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Courtesy of Vega

The VEGAPULS 64 is the first radar level sensor for liquids that operates at 80 GHz. It is currently available from Vega, a German instrument maker. Previous generations of sensor, working at 26 GHz, could not be used in difficult industrial environments. Tripling the emission frequency gives the VEGAPULS 64 a beam angle of 3°, versus 10° for older models. This technological advance considerably improves sensor performance by reducing interference and false signals from condensation, foam, heating coils and agitators found in tanks. The result is much more accurate measurements, to ±2 mm.

VEGAPULS sensors feature another significant improvement—a Bluetooth communications module for remote sensor management via tablet or smartphone. This wireless communications function, which Vega calls PLICSCOM Bluetooth, elicited particular interest at VNF, the agency managing France’s navigable waterways. Alain Bélière, from VNF’s technical services, added it to a VEGAPULS measuring water level in a lock.

The sensor is in a hard-to-reach location and is powered by a solar panel. After considering several different wireless connection options, Bluetooth emerged as the simplest and most economical. Today, we can connect to the sensor from over 50 meters away. The time savings and ease of use are unsurpassed.

The agency has already ordered several Bluetooth-equipped VEGAPLUS 64 sensors.

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