Today’s radar systems are as complex as they are diverse. What is common, however, is that they each contain a digital signal processing section
and RF/microwave front end. In this
article, we looked at a few key elements in both of these areas with examples for pulse compression radar
and discussed several technology challenges as well. While radar systems
were previously developed by a few
hardware engineers, today’s systems
often rely on the design contributions
of multiple domain experts. Various
software tools simplify the complexity
of the design process and allow engineers to think across the traditional
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grated tool chain that supports microwave design, digital signal processing,
hardware-in-the-loop (either hardware
based processing such as on FPGAs or
measurements), and the corresponding hardware capability to support rapid prototyping of designs (see Figure
13). Various systems software packages allow multiple designers to easily
create and evaluate subsystem architectures, bringing their designs from
concept to simulation and, ultimately,
to physical implementation in a single
system within a single framework.
radar systems are becoming increasingly complex with domain experts
from several areas contributing to the
development of one system. How can
an algorithmic tradeoff be adequately
balanced with microwave circuit requirements and cost? There is clearly
a greater need for mixed digital-and-RF/microwave design, simulation and
a prototype framework so that the corresponding domain experts can communicate with each other to address
this complex design problem. One
approach is to consider a well-inte-
s Fig. 13 An example of an integrated tool chain by AWR and National Instruments.