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Radar Challenge

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“Radar-A-Thon”

Hosted by 2020 IEEE International RADAR Conference, Washington DC, USA

Announcing the Radar Challenge

The Radar Challenge is a new event co-hosted with radar conferences that enables participants to experience the magic of radar in a personal, tangible and experiential way—offering an opportunity to create and “see” invisible radar waves interacting with their environment. The event will host an unknown target scene that participants will then sense and decipher using their self-engineered “home-brew” radar. The goal is to build a community of radar builders that collectively explore the art of the possible in making “COTS-based” radars.

The Challenge

At the conference a challenge area will be set up comprising a curtain with a number of stationary & moving objects hidden behind it. The participants will be required to sense behind the curtain and detail the scene as accurately as possible. The participants will be judged on their ability to sense, accurately depict, & describe what is behind the curtain with more credit being allocated to inexpensive, novel, and innovative systems.  Team entrants are encouraged.  Each entry will be required to submit a concept paper through the online system to compete for the challenge awards to be presented at the conference.

Challenge Criteria

Criteria Weight
Collection, Performance & Analysis 60%
Design Ingenuity 15%
Performance/Price Ratio 10%
Packaging / Reproducibility 10%
Demonstrated Performance 25%
Overall Cost Pass/Fail
FCC Part 15 Compliance Pass/Fail
Paper / documentation: 40%
Bill of Materials 20%
Hardware & Software Design Overview 20%

Notes

  • Systems can only be constructed from commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components
  • Bill of Materials (BOM) must include source & price
  • Systems must be compliant with FCC part 15 (https://www.fcc.gov/oet/ea/rfdevice)
  • The scene will be made available at the start of the conference & taken down prior to the banquet.

Categories

Maximum Value Radars COTS BOM < $750
State of the COTS Art Radars COTS BOM < $3k

Deadlines

The following deadlines apply to the challenge:

  • 30/01/20 Submission of four page concept paper
  • 29/04/20 10:00AM – Sensing Results Submitted

Judging

Anyone can submit their results, but participants will be judged based on the published criteria.  Anyone suspected of cheating will be disqualified.  First, second and third prizes will be awarded for each category.  Submitted results will be displayed, the winners announced, and prizes awarded during the banquet dinner.  The winning entries will also be published in the IEEE AESS Magazine.

2020 Radar Challenge Prize Sponsorship

Ancortek

One SDR-KIT 2400AD2 radar kit - https://ancortek.com/sdr-kit-2400ad2

Anteral

Two uRAD devices - https://urad.es/en

MIT Lincoln Lab

RFbeam Microwave GmbH K-LC2 Dual Channel Radar Transceiver modules - https://www.rfbeam.ch/product?id=5

Tektronix

RSA306B USB spectrum analyzer - https://www.tek.com/spectrum-analyzer/rsa306

Texas Instruments

Multi-channel transmit / receive analog front end - (AFE7769EVM, AFE7444EVM or AFE7422EVM) and capture card for radar development

FAQs

Could you provide more info on the challenge area, the curtain, the targets and the data required?

We intend to set up a scene consisting of fixed and moving objects. The scene will be set up in a room with a maximum dimension of 20m so no targets will be further than that. The intent is that teams measure parameters, such as location, speed, and separation distance on a small number of targets.  We expect that the primary targets will be a mix of calibration spheres and corner reflectors.  The curtain will be as is as transparent as possible in the RF bands while being highly opaque.

What type of sensing results is required for challenge? Would this just be test results of factory testing?

The goal of the challenge is for participants to use their radar to describe the scene in terms of parameters. We don’t consider describing the parameters of the scene to be consistent with what we consider factory testing.

Could you please provide a template for the format of the concept paper?

We don’t have a specific template, however, the document contents should match the challenge description. The concept papers will not necessarily be peer-reviewed or published, but act as a qualification for the challenge event at the conference.

The challenge is to build “COTS-based” radars. But how “COTS” does it need to be? Are we allowed to build our own boards/antennas? Can we fabricate, or do we need to buy every single part?

We consider COTs to be generally available components that anyone can order. This does not exclude fabricated PCBs.

How do we prove FCC compliance? Would we have to qualify the Radar?

We ask that each team specify which section of the FCC Part 15 regulation they are using in their radar, along with the limits imposed by the regulations. And, then to show that their design falls within the limits. To ensure fairness, we will be monitoring the transmissions during the challenge. Teams with deviations from the FCC Part 15 will be considered for disqualification.

How much processing can be done off-board? Does processing need to be done on FPGAs or can the data be processed elsewhere? Do the results need to be displayed in “real time”? If the processing is done on a computer or external processor, does the price of the computer factor into the overall price?

We expect a setup with the radar connected to a standard PC. Teams are free to choose where the processing is performed. Results do not need to be displayed in real-time, however, we expect teams to be able to deliver their results during the time allocated to them to solve the challenge (no hours or days of off-line processing). The cost of the computer does not factor into the price, as long as it is a standard PC.

Is the radar allowed to move?

Yes, the radar is allowed to move.

Other than FCC compliance, are there any restrictions on operating frequency?

No

Is the acquisition and control platform (for example ADCs and DACs) included in the BOM or just the RF hardware?

If ADCs and DACs are integrated into the radar or are an add-in to a standard PC, then they should be counted as part of the BOM. Some architectures will require an FPGA to receive and do initial processing of the data. That should count as well.  A standard sound card or laptop audio interface that is part of a standard laptop/PC and is used as an ADC and DAC should not count against the cost.

I also don't clearly see the difference between the Maximum Value Radars and the State of the COTS Art Radars, could you explain it a bit further?

State of the COTS is all about performance. Maximum Value will weigh performance relative to the overall cost of the radar.

Sponsors

Contact

The challenge is organised by the 2020 IEEE International Radar Conference and the IEEE AESS Radar Systems Panel. In the case of questions, feel free to contact:
Phil Corbell (phillip.corbell@ieee.org) or Alex Charlish (alexander.charlish@ieee.org)

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Field of Interest

“The field of interest shall be the organization, systems engineering, design, development, integration, and operation of complex systems for space, air, ocean, or ground environments. These systems include but are not limited to navigation, avionics, mobile electric power and electronics, radar, sonar, telemetry, military, law-enforcement, automatic test, simulators, and command and control."

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