In several applications, such as collision avoidance, it is necessary to have a system able to rapidly detect the simultaneous presence of different obstacles. In general, these applications do not require high resolution performance, but it is necessary to assure high system reliability also within critical scenarios, as in the case of partially transparent atmosphere or environment in presence of multiple objects (implying multiple echoes having different delay times.) This paper describes the algorithm, the architecture and the implementation of a digital Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system based on a chirped optical carrier. This technique provides some advantages compared to the pulsed approach, primarily the reduction of the peak power of the laser. In the proposed architecture all the algorithms for signal processing are implemented using digital hardware. In this way, some specific advantages are obtained: improved detection performance (larger dynamics, range and resolution), capability of detecting multiple obstacles having different echoes amplitude, reduction of the noise effects, reduction of the costs, size and weight of the resulting equipment. The improvement provided by this fully digital solution is potentially useful in different applications such as: collision avoidance systems, 3D mapping of environments and, in general, remote sensing systems which need wide distance and dynamics. © 2016 China Ordnance Society
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