Autonomous navigation of vehicles in urban and highway environments is a highly anticipated development that is expected to revolutionize ground-transportation systems. Also autonomous operation of robotic platforms in complex indoor settings, for a wide range of applications, is of great interest in both civilian and military sectors. In both applications, obstacle avoidance, path planning, and target detections are very challenging tasks, especially in complex environments, and cannot be accomplished using a single sensor. High resolution radars with polarimetry capabilities can provide information such as the distance to the obstacle, its size, rate of approach, and some level of target identification in dark and inclement weather conditions that is not possible using other existing sensors. Fabrication of the RF front-end for the proposed radar is amenable to micromachining processes such as silicon or electric discharge micromachining. Use of micromachining processing in the construction of the radar’s RF frontend ensures that the required hardware tolerances are met and that complicated assembling of many discrete and small components of the RF frontend is avoided. Electronic beam steering can be accomplished through frequency scanning, which in turn requires signal generation over large bandwidth. Alternatively, micromachined low-loss phase shifters operating at Y-band will be developed to achieve desired electronic beam steering capability. To expedite development of a compact prototype radar system at Y-band, signal generation and detection technologies developed at 77 GHz will be extended for Y-band frequencies. As the radar scattering phenomenology of different objects are unknown at this frequency band, extensive radar backscatter measurements and modelling of point and distributed targets of different road surfaces, traffic scenes, and associated objects will be carried out. The goal of this project is (a) to develop the technology for fabricating compact, low-cost, and power efficient millimeter-wave radar imaging system for autonomous vehicles and robotic platforms operating at Y-band (~ 240 GHz) frequencies and (2) to measure and model the polarimetric radar backscatter response of road surfaces, vehicles, and other objects in the traffic scene which will facilitate the development of optimal detection and discrimination algorithms, thereby paving the way for important technologies that will contribute toward achieving vision 2030. Therefore, it is necessary to develop and investigate the different configurations and alternatives to design and build proper circuits and hardware to operate at such high frequencies.
The work in this project is divided into three tracks as follows :