Current microwave radar systems using conventional beam scanning techniques cannot simultaneously achieve a panoramic field of view (FOV) and high scanning speed. This is due to intrinsic hardware latencies from mechanical rotors or electronic phase shifters, or excessive computation time from digital signal processing. These limitations can fundamentally be overcome by transforming imaging concepts from optics into microwaves, enabling a microwave panoramic camera (MPC). The knowledge and understanding of such integration will lead to a novel category of radars and imaging sensors that can be used for a wide range of sensing applications. The proposed MPC will be applied, in particular, to automotive radar to provide driver assistance, making driving safer and more convenient. The fast sensing speed and panoramic FOV enabled by MPC-based radars will provide early warning of potential collisions to drivers. Furthermore, the ultrafast frame rate of MPCs will allow differentiation of objects by detecting their Doppler signatures. With a panoramic FOV, MPCs can also be used in autonomous driving systems requiring constant monitoring of road situations. The educational component of the proposed work will integrate advanced automotive technologies into undergraduate education by engaging community college students in the Metro Detroit area. It will be conducted through the University Bound Program, a State of Michigan King-Chavez-Parks (KCP) Initiative. Community college students, especially those from underrepresented groups, will be encouraged to participate in research activities in antenna and microwave engineering essential for today's automotive radar imaging sensors and telematics. The objective of this research is to transform spectrally encoded confocal microscopy, a fiber-based optical imaging method for high-speed scanning, into the microwave and millimeter-wave regime. This integration will enable the proposed microwave panoramic camera with ultrafast scanning speed and a panoramic field of view. The technical approach relies on the creation of transmission-line based microwave metamaterials, also known as composite right/left-handed transmission lines. By tailoring microwave metamaterials to form a frequency scanned array, a two-dimensional frequency-to-space mapping mechanism can be realized. Utilizing the two-dimensional angular mapping scheme along with the range information obtained from the reflected signal will result in an image of the scene in three dimensions. This research will demonstrate the capability to capture a three-dimensional microwave image with 180-degree FOV in both azimuth and elevation, with a frame-rate speed of 1 MHz. The fast frame refresh rate will allow any Doppler and micro-Doppler effects of moving objects to be captured and exploited for target recognition and identification. Furthermore, by engineering the dispersion characteristics of microwave metamaterials, the proposed MPC can be designed to work in multiple bands, making it feasible to perform dual-band operations for radar systems, such as 24 GHz and 77 GHz automotive radar sensors.
|Effective start/end date||9/1/17 → 12/31/20|
- National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))