Signal analysis for automotive radar testing

Paul Boughton

Rohde & Schwarz is now combining the ARTS turnkey radar target simulator from ITS and miro-sys with its FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyser to support the development and production of automotive radar sensors.

Radar makes it possible to quickly and precisely measure the speed and distance of multiple objects, regardless of weather conditions. For this reason, the automotive industry is increasingly using this technology in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). Using the FSW-K60C option for analysing FM continuous wave (CW) signals, the FSW high-end signal and spectrum analyser automatically performs realtime characterization of the chirp signals typical of automotive radar. The ARTS automotive radar target simulator supplements this test solution by adding realistic target simulation.

The ARTS series allows users to simulate dynamic targets with variable distances, speeds and sizes for radar test scenarios. The digital target simulators work at the 77GHz and 24GHz frequencies with a bandwidth of 500MHz. They are based on a digital concept and can be easily configured for various applications and sensor types. Depending on the configuration, up to four independent targets with different parameters can be displayed in real time.

Chirp signals with linear frequency ramps and large bandwidths can be characterized according to key parameters such as chirp rate, chirp length and chirp rate deviation, and the FSW is the only instrument on the market to offer a resolution bandwidth of 50 MHz in sweep mode, addressing the requirements of the ETSI EN 302 264 1 standard for road transport and traffic telematics in the 77GHz to 81GHz band. The analyser directly covers the 24GHz frequency band widely used for automotive radar systems as well as signals at 77GHz with external harmonic mixers.

The combination of the ARTS and the FSW lets users capture all key parameters of the radar sensor with a single measurement with the data evaluated automatically. In the past, developers had to use  static simulations, for example based on optical delay lines, but this represents only one or two static targets with distance without speed or angle measurements.

When developing radar sensor chipsets, users can now use the new system to simulate a realistic scenario in the lab. For example, it is possible to simulate vehicles with different moving profiles or stress tests in different environments. As a result, developers can verify the signal processing algorithms of the sensor at an early stage.

In production, it is now possible for the first time to perform series tests of radar sensors with a reasonable test depth. The simulator allows very compact test chambers to be created with test distances of less than one meter. This results in a space-saving setup that can be used to test 100% of the safety-relevant radar components on the production line instead of just performing random quality assurance tests.

In addition, users have the option to create their own test scenarios and have them played back as a test program by the target simulator. The relevant system parameters are available and can be saved during operation to meet the seamless mandatory documentation requirement of the automobile industry.

The ARTS radar target simulator from ITS and miro-sys is available as a third-party product exclusively from Rohde & Schwarz.