Algorithms to Antenna: Modeling Micro-Doppler Effects

Micro-Doppler effects are a result of motion with respect to platform motion. This post investigates these effects, using pedestrian identification and helicopter-blade-speed estimation as examples.

Rick GentileHonglei Chen | Apr 17, 2019

We have described radar modeling in past blogs. Now, we want to dig a little deeper in terms of modeling objects and targets that a radar may see in its field of view. The most common technique is to define targets using radar cross-section (RCS) profiles that may vary with aspect angle, frequency, and fluctuations in motion.

Moving targets introduce frequency shifts in radar returns due to the Doppler effect. Targets that are not rigid bodies often have other vibrations and rotations in different parts beyond the platform movement.

For higher-fidelity target models, multiple scatterers can be used together to simulate additional motion, which is visible to a high-bandwidth radar. For example, they can detect motion such as a rotating blade or a pedestrian arm and leg swinging when crossing a street. The motion of these scatterers with respect to the platform motion will also result in micro-Doppler effects. These effects can add to the target “signature” and be used to help identify the object.

We are frequently asked about this topic, and one of the references we use faithfully was recently updated. The Micro-Doppler Effect in Radar, Second Edition, authored by Dr. Victor C. Chen, includes great new applications and examples. Dr. Chen is also the founder of Ancortek; you can find more micro-Doppler related material on his company website:

Read the article here