We are talking with one of the CROWN experts, dr. Sebastian Durst from Fraunhofer FHR, who is responsible for the development of resource manager, including its embedding in system architecture and LAB demo.
Sebastian, please tell us why resource management is an essential part of any radar system?
Modern radar systems can perform multiple possibly conflicting functions at the same time, which must share the available resources. For example, a radar might have to track and identify acquired targets while also having to search for new objects. The resource manager must prioritise these different tasks, allocate resources like time and power to them and finally arrange them on the antenna timeline. All these steps come with their own challenges and require optimisation for the system to function properly.
What are the essential inventions in its development?
Traditionally, resource management for radar has been rule-based and tasks were pre-defined. With advancements in antenna technology and increasing capabilities of multifunction RF systems like CROWN come additional requirements for optimising system performance, while progress in AI and computational power lead to new possibilities. Especially useful are approaches based on quality of service, where tasks can be executed in a multitude of possible configurations. The system then chooses the configurations to optimise overall performance while guaranteeing minimum service requirements.
What challenges do the team of experts responsible for resource management in the CROWN project have to overcome?
The goal of CROWN is not to develop a pure radar system but a multifunction RF system that unites radar, electronic warfare, and communication functions.
One challenge is related to concurrency. The CROWN system should not only be able to perform different functions on the same array but some of these functions should furthermore be executable at the same time. This opens new possibilities in the optimisation of resources and system performance, but also goes along with a much higher computational complexity. Therefore, existing algorithms must be adapted, and new ones must be developed. Our team also investigates the use of artificial intelligence, in particular reinforcement learning, to tackle these problems.
However, one challenge was to create a common language that fits to all functions radar, electronic warfare, and communications. These applications can be quite different in nature, with each having their own requirements for resource management. As a first step it was important to get a common understanding of the involved terms and necessities.
How will the success of this phase influence the development of the modern radar systems?
Even if the actual algorithms and methods will be refined for use in future systems, of course, we are laying the groundwork for multifunction RF resource management in this project. Through the involvement of 11 partners from 7 European nations, the ideas and standards defined in the CROWN project will act as a basis for future European systems.
Dr. Sebastian Durst studied in Cologne and Cambridge, in 2017 he received PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of Cologne. Since 2019 Sebastian has worked at Fraunhofer FHR, focusing his work mostly on radar resource management and links to AI.