SARRROCA - Synthetic Aperture Radar Robust Reconfigurable Optimized Computing Architecture


SAR imaging allows to obtain high resolution terrain imaging even in adverse (light and weather) conditions. This technology is most useful for real-time monitoring of terrain, such as: glaciars, forrests, oceans and crops. However, its computationaly intensive and it is of most importance to develop embedded architectures to accelerate its processing.


This project aims to promote mass adoption of SAR imagery and its deployment on aircraft by providing reliable, portable and lighter computational on-board systems to produce real-time SAR images. This will be achieved by developing innovative optimization techniques to implement dedicated reconfigurable computing architectures for Real-Time SAR imagery, in uncontrollable environments and with limited operating resources, such as aircraft and spacecraft. Such environments affect the system's performance and may disrupt the availability of any service depending on such systems. The SARRROCA platform will generate computing system designs for SAR under a given set of requirements (area, power, temperature, fault-tolerance), and the high-level constraints of the algorithm (size and resolution). By leveraging the adoption of real-time SAR, SARROCA will enable novel products and services for: space, law enforcement, meteorology, geology, agriculture, hydrology, and environment sensing.


SAR images are composed by by the echoes from pulses (chirps) transmitted by the radar and reflected by the terrain surface. The receiving antenna acquires part of the reflections and the system is able to determine the distance to the target/terrain (swath) based on the "deformations" of the sent pulses. This is repeated consecutively for many positions along the flight path (azimuth). The generation of the image is based on the processing of the received echo signal, and can be performed using different algorithms such as: range-doppler, capon, fft, music, backprojection.

The research work is focused on developing techniques for acceleration of such SAR image generation algortihms through the adoption of reconfigurable hardware (FPGAs).


Type: National Project

Duration: from Oct 2018 to Sep 2021

Prime Contractor: INESC-ID

Participating Institutions: INESC-ID

Principal Investigator: Rui P. Duarte (ESDA)



Financed by: FCT

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