As always, first the military, then civilian use. Combine this with the black boxes in your car and tracking the GPS in your smart phone, eventually you won’t be able to go anywhere without the authorities knowing where you are. But you have nothing to hide, right? Right?!!!

Why jump in a cab to “follow that car” when an airborne drone could do the job for you? The US Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is developing a radar system which sees around corners and down into “urban canyons”. DARPA hopes to be able to track vehicles across an entire city using just a few uncrewed aircraft.

Traditional radar relies on direct line of sight, so it’s tricky to track a vehicle that keeps nipping behind buildings. But DARPA believes that by using buildings as mirrors, it will be possible to identify a target vehicle from radar reflections. The experimental system is called Multipath Exploitation Radar.

The agency has been exploring how MER might work by driving vehicles around a simulated urban area and collecting returns from an overhead radar. Its researchers are aiming to combine the radar data with a three-dimensional map of the test environment to calculate how the radar reflects off and between vehicles and buildings. This process should highlight which signals in the returning radar data can be used to plot the target vehicle’s path.

MER is expected to be compatible with the radar systems currently used to track vehicles, a DARPA spokesman told New Scientist. The team anticipates that using reflected radar will cover more ground than a line-of-sight system, making it possible to monitor a city of about 1000 square kilometres, such as Baghdad, with just three airborne radars.

  1. Tim says:

    This comes from the fine folks who tracked down Osama Bin Laden. Oh, never mind.

  2. Dallas says:

    At least cellphone towers can’t triangulate you when you’re not yapping around the city …. hmmm..or can they?

  3. Uncle Dave says:

    #2: Think beyond the box. They find you via cell phone or street camera or eyeball. They then follow you as you drive with this. Got it?

  4. freddybobs68k says:

    #5 Uncle Dave


    And to add to that if your mobile phone is on they can triangulate to you, you don’t even have to be talking.

    Presumably like with planes – cars have different radar signatures, so once they have a reasonable signature for your car they can follow you even if your car goes out of radar sight.

  5. bac says:

    Do you think high profiled politicians would be tracked by any system? It might be labeled under national security that the politicians are not tracked. The high profiled politicians think that they are more important than an ordianary citizen.

    It is not about what you have to hide, but how important are you.

  6. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    How is this radar going to differentiate between nearly-identical vehicles passing each other in an urban setting? Can it tell the diff between two 2007 Corollas? Or a 2009 vs 2007?

    Or, get in a cab in NYC…they all have the same radar sig.

  7. jbenson2 says:

    It’s not just the government.

    Don’t forget the Twitter users who create self-inflicted damage by bragging about the restaurant they are eating at, or the vacation villa they are staying at so the thieves will know when it is safe to burglar the Tweeter’s home.

  8. stopher2475 says:

    If they’re gonna GPS ever car can I at least get one that drives itself so I could nap to and from work.=)

  9. Awake says:

    There is no place to hide; with higher resolution and some automated searching, finding things will become even easier (except Osama BinLaden of course):

    Google Earth’s aerial photos catch a man as he tries to illegally dump.

  10. moi says:

    I cant wait till one of these unmanned aircraft, flyng in total violation of the Fed’s own FAA Visual Flight Rules, meets up with a small plane midair.

    It will be interesting to see how they will explain that one away. “no we haven’t caught or stopped any terrorists with this program, but we did take out a general aviation plane and it 4 occupants.

  11. The Monster's Lawyer says:

    See, I told you someone’s been watching me. Now do you believe me?

  12. bobbo, thats right, I said it says:

    Who should “care” again?

    Concern for privacy for anyone not violating the law really is an adolescent ego driven preoccupation driven by too much TV.

    And so may my constant response to Uncle Dave’s constant posting of this issue. I think it is a fair issue, and if its “your” issue then go for it. But it is a distraction to those things that “actually” affect your life.

    To each his own. Now to go back and rag on RGB for his totalitarian approach to liberty===a real concern.

  13. ECA says:

    This can not be done in a Busy city, with multiple targets of equal size and shapes.
    UNLESS you tag the vehicle some how.

    as in a cellphone, ALREADY tagged with GSM.

  14. Uncle Dave says:

    #15 bobbo, so you would have no problem having every room in your house wired with cameras and audio since/if you aren’t violating the law? That is the logical extension of your argument. For the good of the country’s safety, we have to watch you and everyone else 24/7.

    Without privacy, there is no freedom.

  15. bobbo, words have a context says:

    Gee Uncle Dave==maybe you keep posting the same issue because you keep forgetting?

    We’ve gone thru this issue 4-5 times now. Like the opening moves on a checker board. Remember? Or is advancing the argument not of interest to you?

    On the other thread below on the same issue I posted that Constitutional Law provides privacy where there is a REASONABLE EXPECTATION of privacy===your home, doctors office, bath rooms.

    Now===If it is camera’s in your home that gets your motor running, what does a post about camera’s/tracking devices in PUBLIC got to do with that????? Yea, I know==slippery slope.

    but slippery slope applies by inference only when you have lost the argument in chief.

    Chief says “How?”
    Tonto says “What do you mean “we” white man?”

    Always cracks me up.

  16. deowll says:

    In time every car will have its own beacon on board anyway. Heck the could most likely do this with your cell phone.

  17. bac says:

    The privacy issue is one problem but there is another.
    It is not that you have something to hide, it is that you have done something wrong and you do not know what it is.

    With cameras, gps, phone records and other data showing that you have broken at least one law, the police authorities now have a reason to detain you.

    With this power, someone could control huge portions of the population. This sounds like paranoia but is there a bit of reality attached to the idea?

  18. RBG says:

    What we need is some kind of advanced technology that cloaks us completely from all prying eyes for real privacy purposes. Let’s all wear burkas.


  19. ECA says:

    tHEY ARE ALREADY ADDING TO CARS, a unit that records you location and speed and stopping..
    All they need is a RIGHT to connect to your car.

    They WANT to install a REMOTE/Auto disconnect, to your car to shut it down..

  20. Uncle Patso says:

    # 8 GetSmart:
    “More radio frequency pollution. We may really need our tin-foils hats for real.”

    Heck with the hats; I want the full suit!

    = = = = =

    # 21 RBG:
    “What we need is some kind of advanced technology that cloaks us completely from all prying eyes for real privacy purposes. Let’s all wear burkas.”

    Is this how the Daleks got started?


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