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dSPACE Automotive Radar Test Systems (DARTS) form a product family for testing radar sensors for civilian use in vehicles. With DARTS, radar sensors can be tested in the laboratory in clearly definable, reproducible scenarios. DARTS simulate object reflections that occur in road traffic at different distances, speeds, and sizes in real time. DARTS play a decisive role in the validation of radar-based driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles throughout the entire value chain. Powerful devices are available for use in development and testing in the laboratory, for end-of-line tests during production, for the homologation of a vehicle and for aftermarket.

The Operating Principle

All devices work according to the over-the-air principle: The real sensor is stimulated in real time during operation. DARTS receive the signal from a radar sensor, generate an internal echo, and return it to the sensor. Therefore, the radar sensor can be operated and tested exactly as in a real environment. To test the sensor in a defined way, extensive manipulations of the echoes are possible: By delaying the echo, the distance of an object is simulated; by changing the frequency, its velocity, and by attenuating the reflected energy, the object size is simulated. To determine the azimuth angle, the receive and transmit modules can be placed and moved arbitrarily. Alternatively, a system with several receive and transmit modules can be set up. With a mechatronic extension solution from dSPACE, even continuous angle simulation is possible.

Simulation Possibilities

DARTS enable developers of ADAS/AD applications (advanced driver assistance systems/autonomous driving) to test quickly, effectively, and thoroughly. This is possible thanks to the very precise, reliable echo generation combined with the flexible possibilities to support relevant use cases. Object detection scenarios such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), pedestrian detection, or cut-in/cut-out maneuvers can be realistically represented with the DARTS ­­ - especially for critical cases.

Differentiating Features of the DARTS

Why consider DARTS for the development and validation of radar sensors? dSPACE's radar test solutions have important, versatile features that ultimately determine the quality and reliability of the systems you develop:

Precision: For high-frequency systems operating in the GHz range that are also used for safety-critical applications, reliability, precision, and stability of the functions are particularly important. For example, a preset frequency must be stable for the entire test period. This ensures highly accurate Doppler simulation and guarantees precise repeatability and reproducibility of a designated test scenario, for example, moving pedestrians. This is exactly what DARTS offer by means of high-quality components and sophisticated RF circuit technology.

Continuous range coverage: Electromagnetic waves propagate with the speed of light, which results in an extremely short time interval between transmission and reception of a signal. The processing time of the radar signal in DARTS has to be in the same order to simulate objects close to the radar sensor. The minimum distance that can be simulated is determined by the cable delay and the processing time. This means, the longer the cables, the larger is the minimum distance. The DARTS product family`s dedicated design offers a low minimum distance (0.6 m) and also enables the simulation of large distance echoes (up to 1,000 m). The distance can be varied in small step sizes to ensure realistic simulation of moving objects.

Flexibility: DARTS are regarded as the radar test systems with the smallest RF front ends in the world and are therefore ideally suited for dynamic angle simulations. The small size and low mass of the RF frontends offer almost unlimited possibilities in terms of test setups.

To sum it up: DARTS is based on cutting-edge technology that meets the highest demands.

Other Outstanding Features

  • Fully coherent generation of range, Doppler and radar cross section (RCS) as a measure for distance, speed, and size of the simulated objects
  • True (single-sideband) Doppler spectrum for real-life signals
  • Continuous real-time processing of radar signal waveforms
  • Easy switching between radar bands: 23 – 26 GHz, 75 – 82 GHz
  • Any modulation format: pulsed, stepped frequency, FMCW, etc.
  • Center frequency can be set freely according to radar under test (RUT)
  • Doppler shifts from ±100 kHz, equal to ±706 km/h
  • Output amplitude programmable across an 80 dB dynamic range

Tailor-Made Solutions

The DARTS family is particularly characterized by its excellent scalability: The number of echoes to be simulated can be increased by parallelization and with combinations, short- and long-range solutions can be expanded to particularly powerful complete solutions.

The expansion options even include a mechatronic radar test bench with dynamic and continuous angle simulation that lets you test radar sensors during closed-loop operation. Therefore, dSPACE offers a complete range of turn-key products from over-the-air stimulation to hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation.

Advantages

  • Particularly realistic tests of ADAS/AD applications
  • Validation of the entire radar transmission channel
  • Very fast and thorough tests
  • Simple test setups
  • Short commissioning
  • Seamless integration into existing test environments
  • Minimization of time to market

Consulting Offer

The over-the-air test of radar control units with simulated radar echoes offers far-reaching possibilities for validation. To find the best solution for you, dSPACE offers a comprehensive range of consulting services. Talk to our experts. In a detailed demonstration (also via Webex), you will learn all relevant aspects about the use of radar over-the-air systems.

Use Cases

dSPACE Automotive Radar Test Systems (DARTS) are suitable for a variety of applications in the development process of radar sensors and the vehicles equipped with them. Selected application examples show typical applications in the areas of chip design, controller testing, vehicle testing, end-of-line testing, and vehicle homologation.

Radar Chip Testing

Development and approval of integrated circuits for radar sensors using synthetically generated radar echoes

Radar Sensor Performance Tests

Quick performance tests of a production-ready radar sensor for the efficient development of ADAS/AD applications

Scenario-Based Tests with Radar Sensors

Test of radar sensors with integrated signal processing and application software

Tests Under the Influence of Surrounding Components

Test of a radar sensor that is influenced by surrounding components at the mounting location

End-of-Line Testing

End-of-line test of a radar sensor installed in the vehicle

Type Approval

Type approval of autonomous vehicles and radar sensors

Overview of Radar Test Systems

Powerful radar test systems are available for any development and test tasks. They can be configured for use in E-band or K-band. Depending on the application and task, you can choose between scalable modules, desktop devices, and mobile devices. All DARTS are able to simulate radar echoes with the following characteristics: Distance (signal delay), speed (frequency shift, Doppler), and size (radar cross section).

DARTS-9030-MS

Modular, scalable radar test system for the simulation of one echo. Instantaneous bandwidth: 1 GHz. Distance range: 1,6 meters to 1,000 meters

DARTS-9030-M

Modular, scalable radar test system for the simulation of one echo. Instantaneous bandwidth: 1 GHz. Distance range: 6 meters to 1,000 meters

DARTS-9020-S

Modular, scalable radar test system for the simulation of one echo. Instantaneous bandwidth: 3 GHz. Distance range: 60 cm to approx. 8 meters

DARTS-9017-D

Mobile radar test system for the simulation of one echo. Instantaneous bandwidth: 3 GHz. Minimum distance: 60 cm

DARTS-9510-C

Desktop or rack-mount radar test system for simulation of up to 4 independent echoes. Instantaneous bandwidth: 1 GHz. Distance range: 8 to 3,600 meters

Other Radar Test Systems

dSPACE also offers the earlier ARTS-9510-A and ARTS-9510-B product versions. In addition, special configurations can be created, including mechatronic radar test benches.

Accessories

High-frequency components such as antennas, frequency converters, and waveguides complete the range. dSPACE provides you with a complete, ready-to-use test solution for your demanding tasks.

Technology Note
The DARTS family is based on industry proven technologies developed by miro•sys and ITS.

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