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Our goal was to provide an overview of a circle of emerging ideas in the area of waveform scheduling for active radar. Principled scheduling of waveforms in radar and other active sensing modalities is motivated by the nonexistence of any single waveform that is ideal for all situations encountered in typical operational scenarios. This raises the possibility of achieving operationally significant performance gains through closed-loop waveform scheduling. In principle, the waveform transmitted in each epoch should be optimized with respect to a metric of desired performance using all information available from prior measurements in conjunction with models of scenario dynamics. In practice, the operational tempo of the system may preclude such on-the-fly waveform design, though further research into fast adaption of waveforms could possibly attenuate such obstacles in the future. The focus in this article has been on the use of predesigned libraries of waveforms from which the scheduler can select in lieu of undertaking a real-time design. Despite promising results, such as the performance gains shown in the tracking example presented here, many challenges remain to be addressed to bring the power of waveform scheduling to the level of maturity needed to manifest major impact as a standard component of civilian and military radar systems.
Date of Publication: Jan. 2009