Space-Time Parameter Estimation in Radar Array Processing
Doctoral thesis, 2003
This thesis is about estimating parameters using an array of spatially distributed sensors. The material is presented in the context of radar array processing, but the analysis could be of interest in a wide range of applications such as communications, sonar, radio astronomy, seismology, and medical diagnosis. The main theme of the thesis is to analyze the fundamental limitations on estimation performance in sensor array signal processing. To this end, lower bounds on the estimation accuracy as well as the performance of the maximum likelihood (ML) and weighted least-squares (WLS) estimators are studied.
The focus in the first part of the thesis is on asymptotic analyses. It deals with the problem of estimating the directions of arrival (DOAs) and Doppler frequencies with a sensor array. This problem can also be viewed as a two-dimensional (2-D) frequency estimation problem. The ML and WLS estimators for this problem amount to multidimensional, highly non-linear optimization problems which would be expensive to solve in real-time in a radar system. Therefore, simplifications of this problem are of great interest. It is shown in this thesis that, under some circumstances, the 2-D problem decouples into 1-D problems. This means a dramatic reduction in computational complexity with insignificant loss of accuracy.
The second part contains a performance analysis of the ML DOA estimator under conditions of low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and a small number of data samples. It is well known that the ML estimator exhibits a threshold effect, i.e. a rapid deterioration of estimation accuracy below a certain SNR. This effect is caused by outliers and is not captured by standard analysis tools. In this thesis, approximations to the mean square estimation error and probability of outlier are derived that can be used to predict the threshold region performance of the ML estimator with high accuracy. Moreover, these approximations alleviate the need for time-consuming computer simulations when evaluating the ML performance.