Over the past fifteen years, “cognition” has emerged as an enabling technology for incorporating learning and adaptivity on both transmit and receive to optimize or make more robust the radar performance in dynamic environments. The term ‘cognitive radar’ was coined in 2006, but the foundations of the cognitive systems date back several decades to research on knowledge-aided signal processing, and adaptive radar design. The main element of cognitive radar systems is the ‘perception-action cycle’, that is the feedback mechanism between receiver and transmitter that allows the radar system to learn information about a target and its environment and adapt its transmissions so as to optimize one or more missions, according to a desired goal. But a truly cognitive radar should not be only able to adapt on the fly its transmission waveforms and parameters based on internal fixed rules and on what learned about the environment, but it should also be able to optimize these rules learning with time from its mistakes, as some biological system does. And this is still a big challenge for radar experts.
This talk will provide an overview of the main concept, of methods for modeling cognitive processes in a radar system and of some application example. Some insights into future directions of research will be provided as concluding remarks.