Self-driving is all about reliability – as is testing the radar sensors and application software involved. Here are some thoughts on why high-precision test equipment is so crucial.

Automotive long-range radar (LRR) sensors running at 77 GHz are an undisputed key element in the implementation of driver assistance and collision-avoidance functions for upcoming assisted and automated driving. These functions pose rising technological challenges for environment detection with LRR sensors: This requires high spatial resolution and more accurate detection of smaller objects, along with larger fields for view. All of this within a maximum bandwidth of about 1 GHz. Recognition errors and misinterpretations can lead to fatal consequences in scenarios with self-driving vehicles. Therefore, super-accurate and thorough testing is a prerequisite for reliable functions.

Radar Target Simulation – Precise and Versatile

Over-the-air simulation of radar targets and echoes for automotive radar sensors using radar target simulators is a well-established and proven method of ensuring the proper functioning of sensors and developed application software at various stages of the sensor development, production, and re- lease process. Of course, the requirements for radar target simulators in- clude functional requirements, for example, for the radar targets to be simulated precisely in real time. However, they must also meet economic requirements, which include ease of operation and future viability.

The high precision and accuracy are, of course, also offered by the DARTS 9040-G, which was voted Product of the Year in the Automotive category by the readers of Elektronik magazine.

Strict Test System Requirements

Testing today’s and especially next generations of 77 GHz LLR radar sensors requires the radar targets to be simulated precisely across the whole detection range, which can span up to 300 m. Comprehensive testing and validation of the new sensors and the functions based on them increases the demand for simulation capabilities with consistent simulation properties and precision over the entire range. Users also demand technology that allows for an uncompromised simulation of multiple, independent radar targets. This needs to be ensured independently of the modulation technique of the radar under test.

High-Precision Digital Radar Target Simulation

dSPACE offers the high-precision digital DARTS 9030-M, which benefits from the expertise of dSPACE development partners ITS and miro•sys. It offers 1.2 GHz of usable bandwidth and covers a frequency range from 75 GHz to 82 GHz. The precision of the device is demonstrated by the fact that the range increments of 6 cm are consistent throughout the simulation range from 5.5 m up to 1,000 m with a simulation accuracy of less than 1 mm. This applies in conjunction with a dy- namic range > 60 dB. The advantages of the digital concept are even more evident considering the multi-target simulation capability: Up to four fully independent targets can be simulated without compromising the signal qua- lity. dSPACE is in the process of im- proving the DARTS 9030-M by means of software updates. These updates will fulfill requirements related to the fast switching of simulation distances. Stay tuned for more details in the near future.  

Profile: Radar Target Simulator for Over-the-Air Testing of Automotive Radar Sensors
  • Optimized for high-precision 1 GHz radar.
  • Simulates distance, speed, width, and elevation.
  • Simulates the reflections of up to four freely definable, independent radar targets.
  • Range-independent simulation precision.

About the author:

Dr. Andreas Himmler

Dr. Andreas Himmler

Senior Product Manager, dSPACE



  • DARTS-9030-M

    Modular, scalable radar target simulator for the simulation of up to four echos. Bandwidth: 1,2 GHz. Distance range: 5.0 meter to 1,000 meters.

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