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MmWave Radar Applications and Advantages

Key Takeaways

  • MmWave radar is used for the accurate sensing of location, velocity, and angle and can perform with no interference.

  • MmWave radar offers better antenna miniaturization than other traditional radars utilizing centimeter waves.

  • MmWave radar applications in civilian fields typically utilize frequencies of 24GHz, 60GHz, or 77GHz

Intelligent transportation systems

In intelligent transportation systems, mmWave radar is often used

In most physical systems, sensors are used to aid in intelligent decision-making. Sensors ensure a safe, efficient, and autonomous environment in commercial, residential, and industrial sites. There are different types of sensors—a few examples include thermal imagers, vision cameras, and passive infrared sensors—that can detect location and occupancy. Millimeter-wave radar (mmWave radar) is a type of sensor that is often used in automotive, industrial, civil, and meteorological systems. In this article, we will explore some common mmWave radar applications. 

Millimeter-Wave Radar

Millimeter-wave radar is a special class of radar technology that works in millimeter-waves. MmWaves are short-wavelength electromagnetic waves that fall in the frequency range of 30-300GHz. The wavelength of mmWaves varies from 1 millimeter to 1 centimeter. This radar is used for the accurate sensing of location, velocity, and angle and can perform with no interference.

How Does This Radar Work?

MmWave radar transmits pulses of mm electromagnetic wave energy and detects targets from the reflections it receives back. The multiple antennas in mmWave radar capture reflected signals. By processing the time of flight of these mmWave pulses, the distance to the target, angle of arrival, and relative velocity are determined. The detection of position and motion makes mmWave radar a good choice for systems that need to sense the presence and behavior of humans or animals. 

What Does This Radar Consist Of?

The mmWave radar system consists of a radiofrequency transmitter, receiver components, digital components such as analog to digital converters, digital signal processors, microcontrollers, and analog components such as clocks. Discrete components are utilized for implementing these systems in mmWave radar technology. New advancements that integrate the transmit-receive system with analog and digital components are being developed in mmWave radar technology due to their advantages over other radar types. 

Advantages of MmWave Radar

Millimeter-wave radar has several advantages that make it superior to other sensors:

  1. Robustness - The mmWave radar is robust to atmospheric conditions such as dust, smoke, and fog compared to infrared sensors.
  2. Operation under different lights - The mmWave radar can operate under bright lights, dazzling lights, or no lights.
  3. Operation possible with enclosure - The mmWave radar is enclosed within a plastic casing and can operate efficiently behind the enclosure.
  4. No interference - The mmWave radar frequency selection is made so the attenuation due to the atmosphere minimizes the unwanted interference of the radar frequency from other co-frequencies. The reduction in interference improves the efficiency of the spectrum usage.
  5. Insusceptible to ground clutter - The mmWave radar is insusceptible to ground clutter, allowing for close-range observations. The low reflectivities can be measured using mmWave radar.
  6. Fine spatial resolution - For the same range, mmWave radar offers finer spatial resolution than microwave radar.
  7. Antenna miniaturization - The mmWave radar offers better antenna miniaturization than other traditional radars utilizing centimeter waves.
  8. Large bandwidth - The large bandwidth of mmWave radar technology allows access to the detailed structural features of a target by using broadband frequency modulation signals. 

MmWave Radar Applications  

MmWave radar is the key technology in improving the measurement of distance, velocity, acceleration, angle, and applications such as human gesture detection, collision detection, cloud sensing, obstacle detection, parking aids, automotive driving safety, and blood pressure monitoring. 

Automotive Applications

4D mmWave radar is used as a multi-lane, multi-object tracking device in intelligent automotive systems. As the use of advanced driving assistant systems (ADAS) is increasing, mmWave radar is becoming more popular for driving safety, collision detection, and parking aids. 

Meteorological Applications

MmWave radar provides qualitative information about the presence and location of clouds as well as their physical structure, turbulence, and dynamics. The deformity of clouds can be analyzed with the polarization capability of mmWave radar. The integration of mmWave radar with LIDAR can retrieve clouds’ microphysical data. 

Medical Applications

MmWave radar can detect human gestures, heartbeats, breathing, and subtle movements. This property of mmWave radar is utilized in applications such as blood pressure monitoring, emotional monitoring, and sleep monitoring. MmWave radar does not require optical imaging for tracking human activities, which offers users some privacy.

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