Frequency-modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radars are an important class of radar systems, and they are quite popular because of their simpler architecture and lower cost. A fundamental problem in FMCW radars is the nonlinearity of the voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), which results in a range of measurement errors, problems in multitarget detection, and degradation in synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images. In this paper, we first introduce a novel upsampling theory, then propose new algorithms to improve range accuracy and multitarget detection capability. These improvements are demonstrated both by simulations and actual lab experiments on a 2.4 GHz radar system. There are several techniques reported in the literature for VCO nonlinearity correction, but what makes the proposed approach different is that we focus on real-time processing on low-cost hardware and optimize the design subject to this constraint. We first developed an optimal upsampling theory which is based on almost-causal finite impulse response (FIR) filters. Compared to the sinc-based noncausal interpolation-based upsamplers, the proposed approach is based on using interpolation filters with few number of coefficients. Furthermore, interpolators are trained for a specific class of signals rather than a highly general signal set. Therefore, the proposed approach can be implemented on lower-cost hardware and perform quite well compared to more expensive systems.
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