News Release

Can artificial intelligence–based systems spot hard-to-detect space debris?

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Wiley

An increasing number of space objects, debris, and satellites in Low Earth Orbit poses a significant threat of collisions during space operations. The situation is currently monitored by radar and radio-telescopes that track space objects, but much of space debris is composed of very small metallic objects that are difficult to detect. In a study published in IET Radar, Sonar & Navigation, investigators demonstrate the benefits of using deep learning—a form of artificial intelligence—for small space object detection by radar.

The team modelled a prominent radar system in Europe (called Tracking and Imaging Radar) in tracking mode to produce training and testing data. Then, the group compared classical detection systems with a You-Only-Look-Once (YOLO)–based detector. (YOLO is a popular object detection algorithm that has been widely used in computer vision applications.) An evaluation in a simulated environment demonstrated that YOLO-based detection outperforms conventional approaches, guaranteeing a high detection rate while keeping false alarm rates low.

“In addition to improving space surveillance capabilities, artificial intelligence–based systems like YOLO have the potential to revolutionize space debris management,” said co–corresponding author Federica Massimi, PhD, of Roma Tre University, in Italy. “By quickly identifying and tracking hard-to-detect objects, these systems enable proactive decision-making and intervention strategies to mitigate collisions and risks and preserve the integrity of critical space resources.”

URL upon publication: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1049/rsn2.12547

 

Additional Information
NOTE: 
The information contained in this release is protected by copyright. Please include journal attribution in all coverage. For more information or to obtain a PDF of any study, please contact: Sara Henning-Stout, newsroom@wiley.com.

About the Journal
IET Radar, Sonar & Navigation is a fully open access distinguished journal that covers the theory and practice of systems and signals for radar, sonar, radiolocation, navigation and surveillance purposes, in aerospace and terrestrial applications.

About Wiley
Wiley is a knowledge company and a global leader in research, publishing, and knowledge solutions. Dedicated to the creation and application of knowledge, Wiley serves the world’s researchers, learners, innovators, and leaders, helping them achieve their goals and solve the world's most important challenges. For more than two centuries, Wiley has been delivering on its timeless mission to unlock human potential. Visit us at Wiley.com. Follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.