Rensselaer researchers to develop Next-Generation Radar Systems (Oct. 2, 2009) — Professor Birsen Yazici at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is developing a new test radar system that could allow radars to be used in crowded cities and other urban environments.

rensselaerre“Conventional radar systems are designed for open spaces, and they do not work very well when used in urban environments with clutter from power lines, buildings, and dynamically changing elements like vehicles and people,” said Birsen Yazici, associate professor of electrical, computer and systems engineering.

The new test bed, led by Yazici, will allow simulations of radar systems that are comprised of hundreds of miniature sensors communicating with ground sensors, unpiloted aerial vehicles, and satellites.

The new test bed will position antennas in a large cylindrical chamber. The antennas will transmit and receive test signals, resulting in an extensive collection of data that is equivalent to that obtained with hundreds of small RF sensors.

The 25-foot diameter chamber will be situated in Rensselaer’s Watervliet research facility.

The capabilities of the test bed will include developing accurate and simple wave propagation models for complex environments; performing experiments with waveform, polarization, and 3-D spatial diversity and time-reversal methodology; as well as testing and evaluating new capabilities in opportunistic sensing, passive imaging, wide-aperture imaging, integrated sensing and processing, and moving target imaging.

Yazici said the new test bed will also promote the transfer and exchange of ideas and capabilities with federal laboratories, serve as a shared facility for Rensselaer and the Air Force Research Laboratory, and facilitate interdisciplinary and multi-university research in sensing, medical imaging, networking, robotics, advanced antennas, and control of stray RF energy from power systems.

It will also be used for education, outreach, and training activities involving radar and other RF technologies.

This Radar plays an important role in transportation, communications, and other applications because radio waves can pass through clouds, smoke, and other obstructions that often limit visibility, Yazici said.

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