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Millimeter-Wave Simulation for Automotive Radar Systems

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Markus Treml

Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Markus Treml

Supervisory committee:

A.Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Andreas Stelzer
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr. Bernhard Zagar

Final exam:

February 25, 2010

In recent years radar technology came into the focus of the automotive industry. Beside possible applications like parking sensors, precrash-detection and blind-spot detection, the radar technology achieved acceptance especially for use in adaptive cruise control (ACC). In addition to the reduction of size, which is a key factor for integration of the sensor in a car, the price is a market-dominating criterion. Today the price of such a radar sensor is still too high and therefore only available for high-priced cars.

To achieve a drastical reduction of the price and with it the potential to integrate it into low priced cars, different actions have to be taken. Besides a reduction in the hardware cost of the sensor, which nowadays is done by the change of the technology from GaAs to SiGe, it is necessary to reduce also the time-to-market and therewith the development costs. In doing so it is of vital importance to analyze the sensor at the system level before doing prototyping. In this way design errors can be detected and corrected, avoiding long redesign cycles.

Doing a system simulation it is necessary to have accurate models of the used mm-wave devices, as well as a fundamental understanding of the radar path and the behavior of typical radar targets. Commercially available models are often simplified and not able to model parasitic or undesirable effects.

Objective of this work is providing modeling techniques enabling the system engineer to model mm-wave components based on circuit simulation data or measurement data. Therefore the characterization and measurement techniques of mm-wave components are a fundamental part of the work, because at high frequencies the available measurement techniques are limited.

As mentioned above knowledge about the radar path and the fundamental characteristics of complex radar targets is required for doing radar system simulation. For this reason the calculation of the radar cross section of metalic objects is studied in this work. An algorithm for calculating the radar cross section using a raytracing algorithm and physical optics is presented.

By means of the techniques for modeling mm-wave components presented in this work, it should be possible for the system engineer to do system simulation of mm-wave radar frontends with high accuracy and reasonable computational power. Therefore system concepts can be investigated by simulation and development costs can be reduced.

Figure 1: Radar cross section of a commercially available tin can, simulated and measured at 77 GHz.

Figure 2: Prototyp of a 4-channel millimeter wave radar module.

Keywords: radar, radar cross section, system level simulation, behaviour modeling, millimeter wave radar, MMICs