UCL Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering


Flexible joint communication and sensing tool | A Knowledge Transfer Partnership

21 August 2023

Developing a flexible joint communication and sensing tool that can detect targets while providing communication links with other devices

Funder: Innovate UK


Research topics Communications | Sensing | Wireless Networks | Integrated sensing | Industry collaboration

Photo is of a directional 60 GHz radio module. This device can electronically steer narrow beams on both transmit and receive, making it extremely resilient to interference. © Plextek


Modern Radio Frequency (RF) systems often complete only a single task – Communication or Sensing. 

This proposed project aims to develop a new category of multi-role RF system which can replace a variety of individual bespoke systems. The objectives of the project are to create a hardware solution that can both provide over the air communication as well as RF sensing in the form of an active or passive radar system. 

The main areas of focus will be the development of the digital system code base that can control the advanced hardware as well as incorporating this into a compact low size, weight and power unit. 

Recent trial on site at Plextec

This project will enable both sensing and communication in challenging, congested, and contested RF environments where each signal must compete for space in the spectrum. The success of the project will result in a demonstrator system that achieves a new joint RF sensing and communication system capability which can be commercialised into a product focusing mostly on the defence and security market. The solution will be able to trade-off between these combined capabilities in real-time for the first time.

This project will be a collaboration between UCL and Plextek. Within the project UCL will contribute with its knowledge and understanding of developing advanced Radio Frequency (RF) sensor and communication prototypes leveraging Xilinx Radio Frequency System on a Chip (RFSoC) architectures. 

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