For an automotive pedestrian detection radar system, fast-ramp based 2D range-Doppler Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar is effective for distinguishing between moving targets and unwanted clutter. However, when a weak moving target such as a pedestrian exists together with strong clutter, the pedestrian may be masked by the side-lobe of the clutter even though they are notably separated in the Doppler dimension. To prevent this problem, one popular solution is the use of a windowing scheme with a weighting function. However, this method leads to a spread spectrum, so the pedestrian with weak signal power and slow Doppler may also be masked by the main-lobe of clutter. With a fast-ramp based FMCW radar, if the target is moving, the complex spectrum of the range- Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) is changed with a constant phase difference over ramps. In contrast, the clutter exhibits constant phase irrespective of the ramps. Based on this fact, in this paper we propose a pedestrian detection for highly cluttered environments using a coherent phase difference method. By detecting the coherent phase difference from the complex spectrum of the range-FFT, we first extract the range profile of the moving pedestrians. Then, through the Doppler FFT, we obtain the 2D range-Doppler map for only the pedestrian. To test the proposed detection scheme, we have developed a real-time data logging system with a 24 GHz FMCW transceiver. In laboratory tests, we verified that the signal processing results from the proposed method were much better than those expected from the conventional 2D FFT-based detection method.
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