Many of Ralph’s Radio clients in Vancouver and Victoria who are interested in a radar detector ask us about the difference between radar and laser guns. In this article, we’ll explain the common features of each police speed measurement system and provide you with a better understanding of the technology that makes them unique.
Common Features of Radar and Laser Guns
When it comes to measuring the speed of your vehicle remotely, the radar gun has been the king for decades. Radar and more recently, laser (also known as lidar) guns transmit a pulsed signal then listen (or watch) for that signal to bounce off a vehicle and return to the transmitter. The signal operates at a specific frequency. When the signal bounces off a moving object, it changes in frequency as it is reflected back to the radar gun. The gun can calculate the vehicle’s speed based on how much the frequency changes. The technology is known as Doppler radar. In case you are curious, the Doppler effect is the same shift in frequency or pitch that you hear as a race car approaches you then drives away.
For lidar guns, the system transmits series of infrared light pulses at very precise intervals. Changes in the time it takes for those pulses to reflect back to the gun are used to determine the speed of the vehicle.
Benefits of Police Radar Systems
Police radar has been in use since 1949 to measure the speed of vehicles. Radar guns transmit at microwave frequencies across several different bands including the X-band at 8 to 12 GHz, the K-band at 18 to 27 GHz and the Ka-band from 27 to 40 GHz. Though the shape of the transmitter antenna can help to focus the outgoing signal, radar is nowhere near as precise as laser measurement systems in selecting a specific target.
Modern radar guns can, however, track multiple targets simultaneously. This broad beam pattern leaves it up to the operating officer to decide which vehicle is going at what speed and act accordingly. Modern radar solutions can also function while in motion. These moving directional radar guns receive reflections from stationary objects as well as faster-moving vehicles and calculate the difference in speed.
Police Laser Gun Systems
Laser speed measurement systems came into operation in 1989 and provided the benefit of pointing the light beam at a single, specific target, even at long distances. By way of an example, the DragonEye Compact Speed Lidar gun has a beam width of about 750cm at a distance of 300 meters.
The second benefit of laser measurement systems is their acquisition speed. Many guns can obtain a speed measurement in about half a second, making it impossible for you to slow down.
Defend Yourself Against Police Laser Guns
Ralph’s Radio carries the Escort brand of radar detectors and its ShifterMax laser defense systems. If you are worried about getting a speeding ticking in the Vancouver or Victoria area, drop by one of our stores and talk with our product specialists. They will explain the options available for your application and can even demonstrate the ability of Escort laser shifters to combat DragonEye guns in ECCM mode.
Mid City Engineering and iDatalink Maestro Vehicle Integration
If you are looking for a unique integration solution for your Escort radar detector, the latest iDatalink Maestro interfaces allow you to control and monitor the radar and laser defense features right on the screen of a compatible Kenwood multimedia receiver. Warnings will appear on the screen along with pertinent information.
Another Escort system integration feature for Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche owners is the new Mid City Engineering Max-Int module. This interface allows messages from the Escort system to display on the factory-installed screen in your dash, and you can use the radio buttons on your steering wheel to configure and control the system. The Max-Int module completely replaces the Escort control panel and display for a seamless and tidy installation. Mid City offers solutions for several other vehicle manufacturers, so check with our sales team about your specific application.
For more information, give our store nearest you a call or send an e-mail using our online contact page.