Extending the range of low SWaP-C FMCW radar

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Lies, William Arthur

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This thesis develops, analyzes, and tests a method to adapt low-cost, automotive-grade radar chipsets for long-range sensing. These disruptive chipsets offer impressive performance at low size, weight, power, and cost (SWaP-C) that could benefit applications with tight SWaP-C budgets such as urban air mobility and urban air logistics. The short range of these radars currently prevents their deployment in long-range applications, so this thesis employs extended measurement intervals coupled with sophisticated motion modeling and signal processing to significantly extend their range. After deriving the optimal maximum likelihood estimator, the thesis presents suboptimal, more efficient techniques for target range estimation that are robust to target motion uncertainty. These techniques are validated in simulation and demonstrated via experiment. The results show that low SWaP-C radar chipsets are capable of operating at low SNR to perform long-range sensing when augmented with this thesis's motion modeling and signal processing techniques. This potent combination of low SWaP-C hardware and advanced signal processing will drive innovation in urban air mobility, urban air logistics, and other areas in need of long-range sensing.


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