MIT Lincoln Laboratory MIT Student Technical Assistant--x-terms Program in Lexington, Massachusetts

Requisition ID: [[id]]

Platform motion compensation for UAV-borne vital-sign detection radar

The Advanced Sensors and Techniques Group at MIT Lincoln Laboratory has developed a miniaturized radar system, mountable on a UAV platform, capable of detecting the breathing of survivors buried in rubble at a disaster site. Such technology has the potential to greatly expedite relief efforts by providing rescue workers with a cue to focus their search, thereby increasing the likelihood of survival for impacted victims. One of the key technological challenges of this system lies in identifying and compensating the motion of the UAV platform. Such compensation is needed to properly process the radar returns and achieve accurate breathing detection. On-board IMU systems provide coarse estimates of the platform’s position that could be used for motion correction, but these estimates are not accurate to within a fraction of the radar’s wavelength, as needed for optimal coherent processing of the returns. Thus, a data-driven approach to motion compensation is needed, where a motion correction is derived from the data itself and applied in signal processing. A variety of motion compensation and autofocusing techniques have been proposed for a number of different radar applications. The UAV-borne problem is unique because of the short standoff distances between the radar and the scene (several meters). The targets and interfering clutter are in the near-field of the radar, and thus, the radar return from each point in the scene is subject to a different (unknown) time delay due to the platform position error. These delays, if left uncompensated, can prevent detection of the breathing target. Multipath effects further complicate the estimation and correction of motion errors.

We are looking for a highly motivated student with a strong signal processing background who can explore and develop platform motion compensation approaches for our program. The applicant must have experience with a high-level programming language such as Matlab, Python, or C++. A successful candidate will have at minimum two years of coursework in Electrical Engineering or Computer Engineering at MIT. Required coursework includes Digital Signal Processing and introductory Electromagnetic Theory. The candidate must have demonstrated strong communication skills and experience working collaboratively in a team with other researchers.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory is an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, veteran status, disability status, or genetic information; U.S. citizenship is required.