Radenso Theia: An SDR Based Police Radar Detector

Radenso is a company that sells radar detectors. These are used to help motorists avoid speeding fines from Police using radar speed detectors in their cruisers. Their latest upcoming product is called the "Radenso Theia" and is a software defined radio based solution.

In one of their latest YouTube videos they explain how SDR is used in the Theia, noting that the SDR ADC chip they are using is an AD9248. The use of an SDR allows them to more easily apply advanced digital signal processing algorithms to the radar detection task. In particular they note that they can now apply deep learning artificial intelligence filtering which helps to classify different radar gun FFT signatures and avoid false positives from other radar sources such as automatic doors.

While the Theia is designed to be a radar detector, they note that the device could also be used by hardware hackers as a standalone software defined radio. They have thought about this use case and have added a separate uFL connector that can be enabled by soldering a zero ohm connector, and this allows users to connect any antenna to it.

What is a software defined radio and why does it matter for Radenso Theia?

40 comments

  1. Jim Bowman

    And my instant on radar is always reading the speed before the driver has a chance to panic and slam on the brakes. I’ve lost count of drivers who have a radar detector and I just smile and say, “So … how’s the radar detector working out for you?” That is right before I write a warning citation … I generally don’t give real tickets unless someone is well over the speed limit and driving like a demon. Whoever commented about speed limits being set to generate revenue was 100% on the money. As a law enforcement officer, I’ve always remained of the opinion that speed limits should be set by the 80/20 rule – whatever speed 80% of the traffic drives (as measured by hydraulic actuated cables stretched over the roadway for X days) without accidents happening is where the speed limit should be set. That is decidedly inconvenient for many municipalities who really don’t give one whit about ‘safety’ – but instead are banking (pun fully intended) on generating X amount of revenue in Y amount of time.

  2. Gregory Martin

    It’s disgusting to think there are drivers who will use these things to circumvent laws put in place to protect the general population. The scenario “I knew the road like the back of my hand and didn’t need to keep within the speed limit. I was using a radar detector at the time so was confident there would not be a pedestrian or horse rider or cyclist in the road. The fact that I killed someone is negated by my above average driving skills. The parents of the child that I killed….” These selfish speedfreaks should be banned for life. When your own child or parent is killed by a speeding driver will you say “Well accidents happen dont they” ? Surely someone with an interest in radio technology can find some better use for his skills than enabling and encouraging behaviour likely to lead to someone being killed or injured.

    • Francis Collins

      Using a radar detector doesn’t absolve you of responsibility if you injure someone. Most speed enforcement I encounter in the US is on limited access interstate highways where pedestrians, cyclists and horses are banned.

      Speed limits are set arbitrarily low in the US in order to allow for enforcement to generate revenue for the government. There also are times when the speed limit might be too high like 65 MPH during snow, sleet or freezing rain. Are you suggesting 65 MPH on ice is ok just because it’s the “speed limit”? If you drive 65 on ice and hit a school bus full of children, are you held harmless because you were obeying the speed limit? Does “conditions permitting” mean that drivers must exercise judgement to go slower but can’t exercise judgement to go faster if conditions allow?

      The other problem with your argument of speed being a primary factor in accidents is the German autobahn were there are still some speed unrestricted sections with similar accident rates to the rest of the world. I have driven in Germany on several occasions on unrestricted sections and did not see any driver acting inappropriately. In fact, I felt safer at 210 kph there than at 55mph in the US. The primary threat in the US is inattentive drivers who text and drive. Texting while driving is rampant in the US.

      I think drivers should be able to use judgement to determine the appropriate speed. If they cause an accident or injury, then they should be held liable.

  3. Gregory Martin

    It’s disgusting to think there are drivers who will use these things to circumvent laws put in place to protect the general population. The scenario “I knew the road like the back of my hand and didn’t need to keep within the speed limit. I was using a radar detector at the time so was confident there would not be a pedestrian or horse rider or cyclist in the road. The fact that I killed someone is negated by my above average driving skills. The parents of the child that I killed….” These selfish speedfreaks should be banned for life. When your own child or parent is killed by a speeding driver will you say “Well accidents happen dont they” ?

    • Ralph

      Ahh I know you’re type. You’re the virtue signaling self righteous ass who thinks guns need to be banned too. How close am I? lol You’re all so irrational and predictable.

      • Gregory Martin

        Well you are not forced to find it disgusting. In the wrong hands a car is a lethal weapon. Some drivers do not drive in a responsible manner. When they drive too fast they increase the risk to both themselves and to other people. The risk is that they may lose control of their car when some unforeseen event happens. No I am not an asshole and I would not use personal insults to get my point across, but I am a professional driver of a London bus and have personal responsibility for the safety of other road users and my passengers. Also working as a truck driver and motorcycle courier. No I am not virtue signalling. And no I am not a self righteous ass. How are you going to feel if a driver is speeding along outside your home and kills your child. By the way the two words “irrational ” and “predictable” have opposite meanings.

        • Ralph

          Greg,
          Listen English Bus driver, people like you are stunningly arrogant and self righteous.. You don’t even live in the USA. Why would you care what the traffic laws are in the USA. I don’t care what the traffic laws are in the UK unless I’m driving on said roads and have to obey those laws. This new Theia radar detector AFAIK is only going to be made available in the USA. So why do you even care? Why are Europeans so god dammed opinionated when it comes to the USA and it’s laws and/or politics? I don’t care what your laws are over there. I don’t live there. To put in in terms familiar to you, “stay in your lane” I don’t comment about UK politics, laws, etc. I don’t care about those because I can’t vote there, and I’m not a citizen. Stay in your lane bus driver.

          • Anonymous

            “Why are Europeans so god dammed opinionated when it comes to the USA and it’s laws and/or politics?”
            Please refrain making a general statement, You do NOT know every European out there…
            Unless you want us to call every yankee we see an overweight dumbass ?

            We don’t make such statement (because as you don’t care about us, we don’t care about you either, all things being equal…), so please apply your own policy to yourself and do the same; else we can talk about your presidential election (we European are still laughting our asses off about that xD )

          • Gregory Martin

            Hi Ralph old chap. Get a grip on yourself! Seriously. There you go again with the insults. It does not make for good communication and I see after the insult bit you had a couple of questions which I will answer. But anyway (pay attention to the way I write this without insulting you in any way and learn) I’ll deal with the insults first and then we can turn to the subject in hand. OK so I am neither arrogant nor self righteous and I’m pretty sure you have never met anyone like me . Now lets deal with your questions one at a time. I dont care about USA traffic laws. The bit about Europeans is more complex and you’ll have to calm down and put your gun away or you might have an accident(I believe there are quite a few gun accidents every day in the land of the free some even involving many children) I’m not sure that the wonderful RTL-SDR website belongs to USA or whether it is more international so you can see that anybody anywhere (maybe even in China) can read it. Much expert technical opinions and advice shared and a very good thing. To get to the point…speeding drivers kill people…they kill innocent people. That’s why I made the comment. I think that some laws are made to protect innocent people from criminal people. Radar detectors may look like a great way to evade the law but what about when some innocent person is killed by the speeding driver? Radar detectors make this much more likely. Thats how it is. I think people should not be encouraged to break these particular laws. We can all do fun things with electronic gadgets but you have to have some responsibility for what you are doing (or encouraging). Now if you want to reply then please try to do it without any insults. (Its not classy and makes you look uneducated)

      • Gregory Martin

        Hi Ralphie. Did you have anything to say about the use of radar detectors or radio or technology? I couldnt see anything in your post apart from insults. Have any experience as a professional driver do you? Have any experience in the field of electronics or technology? Just personal insults right? Do you think any driver should drive at any speed he likes?

    • Greg

      Well you have my apology for upsetting you when I should have kept my big mouth shut. Yoi have your own situation in USA and different conditions to Europe and I guess I should have understood that before posting. Have a nice day

  4. Michael Valentine

    I don’t know, I don’t trust radar detectors. I drive by air ports every day and they use radar yet my Rocky Mountain Radar Detector stays silent. So what’s the point?

    • Travis

      What sort of radar are you referring to the airports as using? If they aren’t vehicle speed detectors, your radar is designed to not go off. There is (thankfully) very sensitive filtering on the better models that block out any errant signals.

      That aside, there’s definitely great variation in performance between different detectors. It sounds like you aren’t referring to vehicle speed-sensing radar signals, though.

      • Rolltide

        I’ve been told that escort makes the best detectors on earth. It’s the first company to provide true powerful artificial intelligence that is used to filter signal. The on board processor is equal to Nvidia 2080ti gpu, it sometimes runs to hot and might lockup though.

        Escort lidar detectors also block all lidar making the driver immune. Many ladies love to be an escort customer.

        • Travis

          1) “escort makes the best detectors on earth.”
          —It was once one of the more favored brands, but latest models haven’t had the best reviews. Each company has great ones and some less good ones (Valentine, Uniden, Radenso are probably the most favored right now.)

          2) “first company to provide true powerful artificial intelligence that is used to filter signal.”
          —Not remotely true. No true AI in current generation of radar detectors at all (Valentine claims to, but they have a rather loose definition of AI.) This upcoming Radenso advertises that it actually will, though.

          3) “The on board processor is equal to Nvidia 2080ti”
          —Just…No. Most all radar detectors (including Escorts) use relatively low-powered microprocessors (they’re powered by RJ-11 phone jacks, for gossamer.) The Radenso in this article will have an actual ARM chip, though, with power on-par with modern smartphones.

          4) “Escort lidar detectors also block all lidar making the driver immune”
          —No. Like most other *detectors*, they *detect* LIDAR, but have no means to block it. However, Escort is one of a handful of companies that sell LIDAR jammers. These systems require professional installation of several receivers & transmitters in the grill and/or bumpers, along with a compatible detector/controller in the vehicle cabin, and range in price from $800-$2000. They do work, though.

          5) “Many ladies love to be an escort customer.”
          —Potentially true, though I feel like men probably buy more radar detectors than women. Similarly for the lowercase-e escort you may be referring to, men probably hire them more often than women do. However, the women they hire probably enjoy their time together less than the customer.

    • Ken Park

      Every time I drive by a radio or TV station, it doesn’t come in on my radio or TV, because they are allocated on different frequencies. Plus, you don’t want cops crashing aircraft by running speed traps on Perimeter road.

    • Jasmine

      Michael, Michael, the Rocky Mountain detector is too smart to be fooled, or tracked, by just any old radar. Its augmented threat detection processing and enhanced threat vector analysis system only respond when a police radar is pointed directly at you and might be capable of reading your speed. It automatically filters out those other radars, understanding that they are not able to see your vehicle because the detector has deployed its Radar Cross Section reduction sub-system, this module rendering your vehicle untrackable by those radars.

      Basically, the Rocky Mountain Detector, with its advanced AI system and extensive countermeasures suite, understands that it should only present you an alert when there is a threat that might read your speed. As long as the detector is not alerting then you are 100% protected and immune to radar tracking. You can take that to the bank.

      • Jim Bowman

        And my instant on radar is always reading the speed before the driver has a chance to panic and slam on the brakes. I’ve lost count of drivers who have a radar detector and I just smile and say, “So … how’s the radar detector working out for you?” Right before I write a warning citation … I generally don’t give real tickets unless someone is well over the speed limit and driving like a demon.

  5. none

    Well…
    a) That is illegal in many Country to have such a Device in your Car
    b) and mostly Lasere get used this Days and intercept is also illegal.

    • Travis

      Legal in the United States, as are laser jammers. I’ve got a last generation Radenso, and will definitely pick up one of these, given the hackability (not to mention that processing capability will make its intended use case a total game-changer). That’s super cool that they’re keeping hardware hackers in mind.

      • Travis

        (Forgot to mention that, at least in the US, most police are still using radar, though laser is slowly becoming more common, primarily with interstate Highway Patrol. Luckily, the jammers are incredibly effective, albeit expensive.)

        • none

          In Europe “Radar” stationary Box are common since the licence plate owner is capable of the Car (in the most country I would say). In many Country the dont need a Picture of the Driver just of the Licence Plate.
          Even APPs on the Smartphone who have a Database of that fixed one are highly illegal if the Police see that on a Traffic Stop it can be a fine for.

          • Travis

            It’s unfortunate that the courts have upheld the legality of not having a picture of the driver, since I assume it’s legal to allow somebody else to drive your vehicle?

            It seems like the smartphone apps would be hard to enforce. Do you mind me asking which country you’re in? I know that in the UK, before smartphones were common, many map producers included camera locations, but of course many countries in mainland Europe are more restrictive. Switzerland, in particular, comes to mind, as a country that is very restrictive on drivers.

        • Michael

          Laser sucks. Why? It’s not regulated. You can build your own lidar jammer with a cheap clock IC and some LEDs. Put them on a breadboard and leave it on your dash, and you’re effectively immune to it. Unlike radar, it’s also not illegal to jam lidar because infrared is not regulated by the FCC.

          Radar is expensive to jam because it operated on scarcely used bands, which are difficult to design SDRs for. You could, in theory, build a full duplex SDR that uses map data to fool the cops by transmitting a frequency redshifted so that it looks like you’re going precisely at the speed limit, but full-duplex SDRs, let alone one that can even transmit in police bands, are very expensive and hard to find.

  6. anonymous

    Considering their most promoted product line ranges in $250-$4000 dollars you can expect that this won’t come cheap, but it is still nice they are offering an sdk and easier hackability.

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