Towards mmWave Altimetry for UAS: Exploring the Potential of 77 GHz Automotive Radars

dc.contributor.authorAwan, Maaz Ali
dc.contributor.authorDalveren, Yaser
dc.contributor.authorKara, Ali
dc.contributor.authorDerawi, Mohammad
dc.descriptionOpen Access; Published by Drones;; Maaz Ali Awan, Graduate School of Natural and Applied Sciences, Atilim University, Ankara 06830, Turkey; Yaser Dalveren, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Atilim University, Ankara 06830, Turkey; Ali Kara, Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Gazi University, Ankara 06570, Turkey; Mohammad Derawi, Department of Electronic Systems, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 2815 Gjovik, Norway.
dc.description.abstractPrecise altitude data are indispensable for flight navigation, particularly during the au tonomous landing of unmanned aerial systems (UASs). Conventional light and barometric sensors employed for altitude estimation are limited by poor visibility and temperature conditions, respec tively, whilst global positioning system (GPS) receivers provide the altitude from the ean sea level (MSL) marred with a slow update rate. To cater to the landing safety requirements, UASs necessitate precise altitude information above ground level (AGL) impervious to environmental conditions. Radar altimeters, a mainstay in commercial aviation for at least half a century, realize these requirements through minimum operational performance standards (MOPSs). More recently, the proliferation of 5G technology and interference with the universally allocated band for radar altimeters from 4.2 to 4.4 GHz underscores the necessity to explore novel avenues. Notably, there is no dedicated MOPS tailored for radar altimeters of UASs. To gauge the performance of a radar al timeter offering for UASs, existing MOPSs are the de facto choice. Historically, frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radars have been extensively used in a broad spectrum of ranging ap plications including radar altimeters. Modern monolithic millimeter wave (mmWave) automotive radars, albeit designed for automotive applications, also employ FMCW for precise ranging with a cost-effective and compact footprint. Given the technology maturation with excellent size, weight, and power (SWaP) metrics, there is a growing trend in industry and academia to explore their efficacy beyond the realm of the automotive industry. To this end, their feasibility for UAS altimetry remains largely untapped. While the literature on theoretical discourse is prevalent, a specific focus on mmWave radar altimetry is lacking. Moreover, clutter estimation with hardware specifications of a pure look-down mmWave radar is unreported. This article argues the applicability of MOPSs for commercial aviation for adaptation to a UAS use case. The theme of the work is a tutorial based on a simplified mathematical and theoretical discussion on the understanding of performance metrics and inherent intricacies. A systems engineering approach for deriving waveform specifications from operational requirements of a UAS is offered. Lastly, proposed future research directions and insights are included.
dc.relation.ispartofseries8; 94
dc.titleTowards mmWave Altimetry for UAS: Exploring the Potential of 77 GHz Automotive Radars


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