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Synthetic Aperture GPS Signal Processing

Synthetic Aperture GPS Signal Processing

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02/26/2013

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www.insidegnss.com
 
may/june 2009
Inside
GNSS
37
S
ynthetic aperture techniquescombine data obtained rommultiple sensors — or one sen-sor moving among multiplelocations, or both — to construct asingle image. hese techniques havebeen widely researched, developed, andapplied in the area o radar systems.his article discusses eorts toextend synthetic aperture concepts toGPS signal processing, exploiting thebeam steering capabilities o syntheti-cally generated phased array antennas.In it, we will describe the ast Fouriertransorm (FF)–based method used tosimultaneously steer a synthetic array’sbeams in multiple directions. We willalso discuss the results o simulator andight tests to demonstrate the ecacy o synthetic beam steering techniques orGPS antennas.Development o GPS-based SARswill enable high-resolution imagingcapabilities using passive receivers o GPS signals and allow 24-hour globalavailability o imaging technology. Itrepresents a dual-use technology thatcould support military applications suchas imaging o military ground eet hid-den under oliage, as well as humani-tarian applications such as detection o unexploded ordnance.
GPSSAR:ThCocpt
Large synthetic apertures allow or pro-ducing very narrow array beams. Tese
Sthtc aptGPS Sg Pcssg
Ccpt d Fsbt Dstt
Most people relate to GNSS as a technology for positioning, navigation, and timing.However, space weather researchers have already demonstrated the use of GPS asa useful sensor for studies of the Earth’s atmosphere. This article introduces theconcept of applying synthetically generated, phased-array antennas for processingGPS signals to create large antenna apertures. In turn, the narrow-beam generationcapabilities of synthetic apertures can be used to mitigate interference and jammingand for producing high-resolution radar images passively using received GPS signals — which raise the possibility of some interesting civil and military applications.
 anDrey Soloviev
University of florida
Frank van GraaS,Sanjeev GunawarDena
ohio University
mikel miller
air force research laboratory
 Aerial view o a transporter-erector-launcher vehicle covered with camoufage netting, duringground launch cruise missile (GLCM)evaluation.
    D   o    D    P    h   o    t   o    b   y    M    S    G    T    P   a   u    l    N .    H   a   y   a   s    h    i
 
38
 
Inside
GNSS
 
may/june 2009
www.insidegnss.com
narrow beams aresteered in desireddirections usingGPS signal process-ing techniques.As shown in
Fig-r 1
, an array beamcan be steered in thedirection o a GPSsatellite to mitigatethe eects o radiorequency interer-ence and jammingsignals that are orig-inating rom direc-tions other than thesatellite. Steering the array beam towards reecting objects torecord high-resolution radar images provides the oundationor the development o GPS-based synthetic aperture radars(SARs).An important consideration in using GPS-based SAR isthat large synthetic arrays are generated with small physi-cal antennas utilizing platorm motion and/or multiplatormintegration. As a result, the physical size o the antenna doesnot act as a limiting actor. Tis, in turn, enables miniatur-ization o the technology or applications on small platormssuch as mini-autonomous aerial vehicles (UAVs) and micro-UAVs.Phased array antennas have been widely employed orantenna beam steering. In a phased array, phases o individualantennas are adjusted to maximize the array gain in a desireddirection, while increasing the array size narrows the array beamwidth.
Figr 2
illustrates beam steering in the case o aone-dimensional (1D) array.In the GPS domain, beam-steering techniques — both ana-log beam steering and digital — have primarily been exploitedto mitigate intererence.
HardwarvrssSoftwarGPS
In designing our phased array, we needed to decide whether toimplement an architecture with a hardware or soware GPSreceiver.A hardware-based construction has several limitations. Forinstance, an increase in the physical size o the array is requiredto narrow its beamwidth. Moreover, adjusting the phases o individual antennas in hardware constrains the system’s capa-bility to simultaneously generate multiple beams that can beused, or example, to track multiple satellites or to simultane-ously track both direct and reected (multipath) signals.o overcome these limitations, we propose a synthetic array generation scheme that uses a soware GPS receiver architec-ture. Instead o adding new antennas to the array, the beam isnarrowed by exploiting antenna motion — that is, the array issynthesized by observing an antenna at dierent locations overtime.
Figr 3
and
Figr 4
illustrate this principle or 1D andtwo-dimensional (2D) array cases, respectively.Generation o synthetic GPS antenna arrays is conceptually similar to synthetic aperture radar, where antenna motion is
FIGURE 1
Applications o synthetic aperture GPS signal processing
FIGURE 2
Beam steering with a one-dimen-sional phased array: phase delays are appliedto individual antenna outputs to steer thebeam in the direction o
θ
0
, the beam width isinversely proportional to the number o arrayelements (N)
FIGURE 3
Synthetic generation o a one-dimensional phased array: anincoming GPS signal is down-sampled by the GPS receiver RF ront-end;signal samples that correspond to dierent spatial antenna locationsare combined to generate a synthetic phased array; phases o individualsamples are adjusted to steer the array’s beam in the direction o theincident angle o the GPS satellite signal
θ
0
.
FIGURE 4
Synthetic generation o a two-dimensional phased array:Physical one-dimensional (1D) arrays are used to steer the beam inthe rst dimension (beam direction is collinear to the planar suracethat is perpendicular to the direction o platorm motion); 1D arrays atdierent spatial locations are applied or beam steering in the seconddimension (beam direction is collinear to the planar surace that isparallel to the direction o motion); measurements o individual anten-nas are combined or phased array processing. Note that the 1D physicalantenna arrays can be implemented on a single platorm or can exploitmulti-platorm implementations such as multiple autonomous aerialvehicles (UAVs).
Synthetic beam steering(interference and jamming mitigation)GPS-based synthetic apertureradar (passive imaging)
Synthetic apertureGPS signal processing JammerAntennabeamAntennabeamGPS satelliteGPS satelliteSynthetic apertureGPS signal processing
AntennaoutputAntenna beam
dd
phase delayd cos(
θ
0
)phase delay2d cos(
θ
0
)phase delayNd cos(
θ
0
)
θ
0
δθ
~
1N
Incoming GPS signal S(t)
S(T
0
)AntennaoutputS(T
1
)S(T
2
)S(T
N
)
d d
phase delayd cos(
θ
0
)phase delay2d cos(
θ
0
)phase delayNd cos(
θ
0
)RFfront-endRFfront-endRFfront-endRFfront-end
Phased arraysignal processing
dd
RFfront-endRFfront-endRFfront-endRFfront-end
SynTHeTiCAPeRTuRe
 
www.insidegnss.com
 
may/june 2009
Inside
GNSS
39
used to increase the antenna aperturein order to increase the azimuth resolu-tion.Te synthetic array generation needsto operate with signal samples. In par-ticular, samples that are taken a certaindistance apart (generally, a hal-wave-length apart: d=λ/2) must be combined.Hence, we use a soware-defned GPSreceiver to generate a synthetic phasedarray antenna.Te soware receiver approach alsoallows the generation o multiple beamsthat are steered in dierent directions.Instead o hardware phase adjustments,a phase o a signal sample is adjusted tomaximize the gain in a given direction(as seen in Figure 3).As a result, multiple beams can begenerated simultaneously by applyingdierent sequences o phase shis to thesame set o signal samples. Tis simulta-neous steering in dierent directions canbe used, or example, or simultaneoustracking o direct and reected signalssuch as urban and ground multipathreections.In the remainder o this article, wewill irst summarize previous eortsin the area o synthetic aperture GPSsignal processing. Ten we will discussthe principles o FF-based multi-direc-tional beam steering and how we appliedthem to develop signal processing tech-niques or synthetic phased array GPSantennas.Finally, we describe the simulationand live data test results used to verithe beam steering methods that we havedeveloped. In particular, we apply actualight data and ground data to demon-strate the operation o 1D and 2D syn-thetic phased GPS antenna arrays.Simulated data are exploited to dem-onstrate the use o 2D synthetic phasedarrays or simultaneous tracking o direct and multipath signals. We alsouse simulated data to demonstrate GPS-based SAR imaging.
earlrWork 
Te concept o synthetic aperture signalprocessing or GNSS signals has beenpreviously considered in both the navi-gation domain, and in the area o radarsystems. (For a discussion o the ormerprinciple, see in particular the papersby A. Broumandan et alia, S. Draganovet alia, and . Pany et alia cited in theAdditional Resources section near theend o this article. For a discussion o the latter, see the paper by M. Chernia-kov et alia.)In the navigation domain, theseearlier papers describe synthetic aper-ture GPS signal processing or a singleantenna case as well as the exploitationo circular antenna motion to synthesizea circular phased array.In the work described by A. Brou-mandan et alia, a synthetic phasedarray is applied or intererence mitiga-tion while the paper by . Pany et aliadiscusses the application o the circularsynthetic array to suppress multipath.S. Draganov et alia discuss the use o the synthetic aperture technique by theultra-tightly coupled GNSS/INS archi-tecture to mitigate multipath.In their paper, Cherniakov et alia dis-cuss the use o GLONASS signals romthe Russian GNSS system as signals o opportunity or bi-static synthetic aper-ture imaging. here, antenna motionis utilized to achieve high-resolutionimaging capabilities in the direction o motion. he cross-track resolution isachieved through use o the GLONASSprecision (P)-code, based on publicly available technical specifcations, whichprovides a ranging resolution o about30 meters.Tis article extends synthetic aper-ture GPS signal processing or thosecases in which multiple GPS antennas areused. Antenna motion is used to synthe-size one-dimensional phased arrays. Asindicated in Figure 4, the second dimen-sion is added (synthesized) through thecombining o signals received by mul-tiple antennas mounted perpendicularto the direction o motion.We will introduce a computationally ecient 2D FF-based signal processingalgorithm to simultaneously steer thearray beam in multiple directions. Assuggested previously, the array beam canbe steered towards reecting objects torecord high-resolution SAR images withGPS signals.For GPS-based SAR, the range-basedresolution o the cross-track image com-ponent is limited by the duration o thechip o the pseudorandom rangingsequence: 300 meters or the C/A-codeand 30 meters or the GPS P-code.Focusing the array beam using mul-tiple antennas that are mounted per-pendicular to the direction o motionto resolve the cross-track componentimproves the cross-track image reso-lution beyond the C/A or P-code chipduration. Te approach especially bene-fts cases where the multiplatorm signalintegration can be applied to constructlarge array apertures in the cross-track direction.
FFT-BasdMlt-DrctoalBamStrg
As reported by M. I. Skolnik (see Addi-tional Resources), FF-based multi-directional beam steering techniqueshave been previously employed or radarapplications. In our work described here,we adopted these techniques to developcomputationally ecient methods ormulti-directional beam steering o syn-thetic GPS antenna arrays.Te FF-based beam steering tech-nique processes synthetic phased array data to construct a GPS signal image inwhich each image pixel contains signalparameter inormation correspondingto a signal that is received rom a par-ticular steering angle.
Figr 5
illustratesthe FF-based signal image constructionor the 2D antenna array.Each cell o the 2D FF requency grid corresponds to a particular 2Dsteering angle, where the correspon-
Focsgtharrabamsgmltplatasthatarmotdprpdclartothdrctoofmototorsolvthcross-trackcompotmprovsthcross-trackmagrsoltobodthC/AorP-codchpdrato.

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