A method is developed, analyzed, and tested 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 paper employs extended measurement intervals coupled with sophisticated signal processing to significantly extend their range. After deriving the optimal maximum likelihood estimator, the paper 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 paper’s 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.

Cite and download the paper:
Lies, William A., Lakshay Narula, Peter A. Iannucci, and Todd E. Humphreys, "Long Range, Low SWaP-C FMCW Radar," under review with IEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Signal Processing.

Supplementary material is available here.