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Sensors 2017, 17(2), 298;

Detectability Analysis of Road Vehicles in Radarsat-2 Fully Polarimetric SAR Images for Traffic Monitoring

Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100094, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jonathan Li
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 February 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensors)
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By acquiring information over a wide area regardless of weather conditions and solar illumination, space-borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has the potential to be a promising application for traffic monitoring. However, the backscatter character of a vehicle in a SAR image is unstable and varies with image parameters, such as aspect and incidence angle. To investigate vehicle detectability in SAR images for traffic monitoring applications, images of four common types of vehicles in China were acquired using the fully polarimetric (FP) SAR of Radarsat-2 in our experiments. Methods for measuring a vehicle’s aspect angle and backscatter intensity are introduced. The experimental FP SAR images are used to analyze the detectability, which is affected by factors such as vehicle size, vehicle shape, and aspect angle. Moreover, a new metric to improve vehicle detectability in FP SAR images is proposed and compared with the well-known intensity metric. The experimental results show that shape is a crucial factor in affecting the backscatter intensity of vehicles, which also oscillates with varying aspect angle. If the size of a vehicle is smaller than the SAR image resolution, using the intensity metric would result in low detectability. However, it could be improved in an FP SAR image by using the proposed metric. Compared with the intensity metric, the overall detectability is improved from 72% to 90% in our experiments. Therefore, this study indicates that FP SAR images have the ability to detect stationary vehicles on the road and are meaningful for traffic monitoring. View Full-Text
Keywords: Synthetic Aperture Radar; vehicle detectability; Radarsat-2 satellite; traffic monitoring Synthetic Aperture Radar; vehicle detectability; Radarsat-2 satellite; traffic monitoring

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Zhang, B.; Wang, C.; Zhang, H.; Wu, F.; Tang, Y.-X. Detectability Analysis of Road Vehicles in Radarsat-2 Fully Polarimetric SAR Images for Traffic Monitoring. Sensors 2017, 17, 298.

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