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Upcoming new synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellites such as TerraSAR-X and Radarsat-2 offer high spatial image resolution and dual receive antenna capabilities, which open new opportunities for worldwide traffic monitoring applications. If the radar cross section (RCS) of the vehicles is strong enough, they can be detected in the SAR data, and their speed can be measured. For system performance prediction and algorithm development, it is therefore indispensable to know the RCS of typical passenger cars. The geometry parameters that have to be considered are the radar look direction, incidence angle, and vehicle orientation. In this letter, the radar signatures of nonmoving or parking cars are presented. They are measured experimentally from airborne experimental SAR (E-SAR) data, which have been collected during flight campaigns in 2005 and 2006 with multiple overflights at different aircraft headings. The radar signatures could be measured for the whole range of aspect angles from 0 to 180 and with high angular resolution due to the large synthetic aperture length of the E-SAR radar sensor. The analysis for one type of passenger car and particular incidence angles showed that the largest radar cross-sectional values and, thus, the greatest chance of detection of the vehicles appear when the car is seen from the front, back, and side. Radar cross-sectional values for slanted views are much lower and are therefore less suitable for car detection. The measurements have been performed in the -band (9.6 GHz) with VV-polarization, and at incidence angles of 41.5deg and 42.5deg. The derived radar signature profile can also be used for the verification of radar cross-sectional simulation studies.
Date of Publication: Oct. 2007