Performance Measurement of Compact and High-Range Resolution 76 GHz Millimeter-Wave Radar System for Autonomous Unmanned Helicopters


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Electronics   Vol.E96-C   No.4   pp.586-594
Publication Date: 2013/04/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1353
DOI: 10.1587/transele.E96.C.586
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Microwaves, Millimeter-Waves
autonomous unmanned helicopter,  carbon fiber reinforced plastic,  direct conversion,  millimeter-wave radar,  range resolution,  

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We propose a compact and high-range resolution 76 GHz millimeter-wave radar system for autonomous unmanned helicopters. The purpose of the radar system is to detect and avoid obstacles that may affect the flight safety. To achieve these objectives, a high range resolution and a long detection range are required for the radar systems with small volume and weight. The radar broadband RF front-end module which employs a simple direct conversion method is proposed. The radar module enables the 6 GHz RF signal transmission as well as the output power of about 8 dBm using commercially available low-cost monolithic microwave integrated circuits. The radar system comprises the broadband RF front-end module, a Ku-band local frequency-modulated continuous wave signal synthesizer, and a very light weight carbon fiber reinforced plastic parabolic reflector antenna. The 5 cm of range resolution is experimentally obtained using the 6 GHz RF signal bandwidth. The results of the power line measurement confirm an about 23 dB signal to noise ratio, which is measured from the reflection of the high-voltage power lines about 150 m ahead. In addition, the results of the radar system on-board test using an unmanned helicopter are evaluated. The real-time radar scope, which is transferred through the wireless connection, confirms the detection of the power lines and the other surrounding objects.