Applications of Doppler Effect

Applications of Doppler Effect

(i) To measure the speed of an automobile

An electromagnetic wave is emitted by a source attached to a police car. The wave is reflected by a moving vehicle, which acts as a moving source. There is a shift in the frequency of the reflected wave. From the frequency shift using beats, the speeding vehicles are trapped by the police.

(ii) Tracking a satellite

The frequency of radio waves emitted by a satellite decreases as the satellite passes away from the Earth. The frequency received by the Earth station, combined with a constant frequency generated in the station gives the beat frequency. Using this, a satellite is tracked.


A RADAR sends high frequency radiowaves towards an aeroplane. The reflected waves are detected by the receiver of the radar station. The difference in frequency is used to determine the speed of an aeroplane.


Sound waves generated from a ship fitted with SONAR are transmitted in water towards an approaching submarine. The frequency of the reflected waves is measured and hence the speed of the submarine is calculated.