Automotive radar test system shifts test drives to the lab

June 28, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Test system for automotive radar sensors simulates transversely moving objects
With the new R&S RTS radar test system from Rohde & Schwarz, it is possible to simulate driving scenarios for testing radar-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or the radar sensor technology of autonomous driving cars (AD) completely via the air interface, eliminating the need for time-consuming test drives.

The solution consists of Rohde & Schwarz' AREG800A automotive radar echo generator as the backend and the R&S QAT100 antenna array as the front end. Today, transversely moving objects are simulated by the mechanical movement of antennas. The R&S RTS replaces this mechanical movement by electronically switching individual antennas on and off in the front end. Even very fast transversely moving objects can thus be simulated reliably and reproducibly. The R&S RTS simulates the speed (Doppler) and size (radar cross section) of the objects at any adjustable distance - even if this distance is very small. Numerous objects can be displayed via cascading. With the system, tests that are currently carried out in road tests can be transferred to the laboratory. Errors can thus be detected at an early stage and costs significantly reduced.

An important background to the provision of the new test system lies in the fact that the number of radar sensors in the vehicle is continuously growing: in addition to the long-range radars required by the NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme), car designers are increasingly installing side radars that can also monitor cross-traffic. The latest generation of radar sensors integrates HF antennas and signal processors for object detection in one chip. Therefore, when testing the radar sensors, it is necessary to simulate the objects to be detected via the air interface. The new R&S RTS - consisting of the R&S AREG800A backend and R&S QAT100 antenna array front end - provides a target simulator for generating dynamic radar echoes that can be used from predevelopment through the hardware-in-the-loop test lab to the validation of ADAS/AD functions in the complete vehicle.

The backend can generate a large number of independent artificial objects, dynamically varying distance, object size (radar cross section) and radial velocity. A bandwidth of 4 GHz between 76 GHz and 81 GHz covers the typical frequency range

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