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Short-Range Millimeter-Wave Radar Perception in a Polar Environment

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.1999, 00:00 authored by Alex Foessel, Sachin Chheda, Dimitrios Apostolopoulos
Autonomous vehicle operations in Antarctica challenge robotic perception. Flying ice and snow, changing illumination due to low sun angles and lack of contrast degrade stereo and laser sensing. Millimeter-wave radar offers remarkable advantages as a robotic perception modality because it is not as sensitive to the aforementioned conditions. Experiments with millimeter-wave radar in an Antarctic environment show minimal degradation of millimeter-wave sensing capabilities under blowing-snow conditions, as well as backscatter obtained from polar-terrain surfaces at grazing angles and detection of obstacles commonly found in polar areas. This paper presents issues relevant to short-range radar perception for a mobile robot in an Antarctic environment. The article describes the experiments and data-analysis procedures, and draws conclusions on the utility of millimeter-wave radar as a robotic sensor for obstacle avoidance and navigation in polar settings.