Pedestrian recognition using automotive radar sensors
- BMW Group Research and Technology, Munich, Germany
Abstract. The application of modern series production automotive radar sensors to pedestrian recognition is an important topic in research on future driver assistance systems. The aim of this paper is to understand the potential and limits of such sensors in pedestrian recognition. This knowledge could be used to develop next generation radar sensors with improved pedestrian recognition capabilities. A new raw radar data signal processing algorithm is proposed that allows deep insights into the object classification process. The impact of raw radar data properties can be directly observed in every layer of the classification system by avoiding machine learning and tracking. This gives information on the limiting factors of raw radar data in terms of classification decision making. To accomplish the very challenging distinction between pedestrians and static objects, five significant and stable object features from the spatial distribution and Doppler information are found. Experimental results with data from a 77 GHz automotive radar sensor show that over 95% of pedestrians can be classified correctly under optimal conditions, which is compareable to modern machine learning systems. The impact of the pedestrian's direction of movement, occlusion, antenna beam elevation angle, linear vehicle movement, and other factors are investigated and discussed. The results show that under real life conditions, radar only based pedestrian recognition is limited due to insufficient Doppler frequency and spatial resolution as well as antenna side lobe effects.