Skip to Main Content
This work provides a general framework for the design of second-order blind estimators without adopting any approximation about the observation statistics or the a priori distribution of the parameters. The proposed solution is obtained minimizing the estimator variance subject to some constraints on the estimator bias. The resulting optimal estimator is found to depend on the observation fourth-order moments that can be calculated analytically from the known signal model. Unfortunately, in most cases, the performance of this estimator is severely limited by the residual bias inherent to nonlinear estimation problems. To overcome this limitation, the second-order minimum variance unbiased estimator is deduced from the general solution by assuming accurate prior information on the vector of parameters. This small-error approximation is adopted to design iterative estimators or trackers. It is shown that the associated variance constitutes the lower bound for the variance of any unbiased estimator based on the sample covariance matrix. The paper formulation is then applied to track the angle-of-arrival (AoA) of multiple digitally-modulated sources by means of a uniform linear array. The optimal second-order tracker is compared with the classical maximum likelihood (ML) blind methods that are shown to be quadratic in the observed data as well. Simulations have confirmed that the discrete nature of the transmitted symbols can be exploited to improve considerably the discrimination of near sources in medium-to-high SNR scenarios.