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Aug 11, 2013, 07:45 PM
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VHDL notes


So VHDL was the chosen language for FPGA development, because most of the example source code is in VHDL. It was surprising that the world abandoned Verilog in the last 13 years.

Hardware design is a step below assembly language. It's very time consuming to do things like print a character on a UART. It's amazing that video decoders have been implemented in hardware. The Xilinx development environment is slow, has a really lousy text editor, but is necessary for using their IP cores. Just checking for syntax errors is really slow.

Implementing the required FFT with motion detection algorithm on the FPGA is a big deal. The concept is roughly known. Attach an automotive radar & FPGA to a computer fan. Power the circuit using a commutator, inductor, or separate battery. Get data from it using IR or RF.

The radar module spins around as fast as the computer fan can go. It takes as many chirps per revolution as the FPGA allows. Depending on the noise level, it can get a doppler reading which would allow unlimited chirps per revolution or it can get a frequency modulated reading which would limit the chirps per revolution to the FPGA's memory.

The frequency modulated solution would be limited to under 16 chirps per revolution. Each chirp would feed a 1024 slot 16 bit FFT. 2 FFT's would be compared to get a distance change. 320 FFT's would be required per second if there are 20 revolutions per second. It might be within reach of a blackfin.

32kb would be the current revolution & 32kb would be the previous revolution. Additional memory might be needed for temporaries. The motion detected in each direction would be sent to the host using IR. The host would construct a motion field to determine its position.

Automotive radar will someday produce 3D motion fields & maps on its own. For the next few years, it's going to be just 1D. 1D seems to be enough to do intelligent cruise control, blind spot detection, rear end detection, & automatic parking. That market is just beginning to appear in the highest end cars. No-one is going to extend their automotive radar module to UAV navigation unless the market can be proven to be as big as cars.

Unfortunately, there is no funding for the radar project. It's a long term vision of grandeur with a very long development time & a very high cost, contingent on someone investing in it.
Last edited by Jack Crossfire; Aug 11, 2013 at 07:52 PM.
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