Active infrared sensors work with radar technology and they both emit and receive infrared radiation. This radiation hits the objects nearby and bounces back to the receiver of the device. Through this technology, the sensor can not only detect movement in an environment but also how far the object is from the device. This is especially useful in robotics to detect proximity. Spaceborne active sensors have a variety of applications related to meteorology and observation of the Earth’s surface and atmosphere. For example, precipitation radars measure the radar echo from rainfall to determine the rainfall rate over the Earth’s surface; and cloud profile radars measure the radar echo return from clouds to provide a three dimensional profile of cloud reflectivity over the Earth’s surface.
The construction and setup of sensors or sensor arrays determines their maximum resolution and recognition abilities. Therefore, the analysis of certain setups is an important and mandatory task during the design process of a new sensor system. This paper deals with the simulation and evaluation of the recognition abilities of active infrared sensors for autonomous systems. Additionally, the simulation method as well as the results provide useful information for other applications, where infrared sensors are used. The simulation method is based on a Monte Carlo algorithm, which uses ray tracing to calculate the impulse response of the optical channel consisting of the sending and receiving components and the environment. In order to allow a fast simulation of several configurations, an efficient and flexible computation is realized. This means that all rays contribute maximally to the final result, and different sensor characteristics can easily be calculated. Extensive experiments are carried out, and the results show different evaluation options.
Spaceborne active sensors operate in the Earth Exploration-Satellite Service or in the Space Research Service. Active sensor frequency allocations are often shared with other radar systems, as such systems are normally compatible with the operation of the sensors.