Early radar system evaluation for efficient development “HiFi Radar Target”The aim of the “HiFi Radar Target” project is to improve the evaluation of active safety systems which use one or more radar sensors.
In order to ensure radar reliability extensive tests are required using soft surrogate targets (such as balloon cars). However, the radar's response to a surrogate target can differ from its response to real targets. This can in turn lead to unexpected ADAS and AD reactions in real traffic situations.
Radar – an important sensor
Thanks to its ability to detect and follow objects, forward-pointing radar (which operates at 77 GHz) is an important sensor in both Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Driving (AD) systems. Compared to other sensors, radar detects objects at long distances (up to 200 metres), making it possible to predict and react to objects well in advance.
Characterisation and improvement of radar targets
In order to ensure radar reliability extensive tests are required using soft surrogate targets (such as balloon cars).
At the system level, these tests can be carried out on active safety test tracks (for example at AstaZero's test environment). For safety reasons, soft surrogate targets are used in development testing of ADAS and AD functions.
However, the shape and material of surrogate targets differ from those of real vehicles, which means that the surrogate targets have different radar cross-sections (RCS) compared to real vehicles (or other objects) encountered on the roads. Deformation of the targets as a result of collisions can also affect the RCS in unpredictable ways. This in turn results in uncertainty in radar detection and consequently in undesired variation in the activation of the ADAS and AD functions.
Tough competition and short lead times in the automotive industry are driving the need to increase virtual testing. The ability to evaluate ADAS or AD functions early in the development process will save a great deal of time and money.
The intention is to evaluate the system before the hardware is available and integrated in vehicles. At present there are no tools or methods for full-scale system-level virtual testing of radar-based ADAS and AD systems, i.e. tools that include radar, vehicles, radar targets and radio channels.
This project contributes to improved radar system testing methods, both virtual and in real test environments, by working on characterisation and improvement of radar targets and virtual testing. We will:
- develop RCS measurement methods, including hardware;
- compile a method for constructing true-to-life (high-fidelity, HiFi) soft surrogate targets that are significantly better than today's;
- contribute to international standardisation of methodology and requirement setting for RCS measurement of real and soft targets;
- implement a toolchain for simulating radar systems, which will enable testing in virtual environments and will also be a complement to advanced test environments.
Financing and partnerships
HiFi Radar Target is a two-year research project starting in January 2016 and financed by VINNOVA/FFI.
The partners are Volvo Car Group, Autoliv Development AB, AstaZero AB and RISE (before SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden), project owner.