Radio waves are a type of electromagnetic radiation that have been used for a long time for different purposes: mainly for communications, but also for sensing the environment, such as in object detection using radar systems. Until now, these two applications have been developed and studied mostly separately. However, both rely on the same physical phenomena, and so, consequently the same equipment, spectrum and signals can be used for both purposes, i.e., the same signal that is transmitted to convey information from A to B will be also reflected by objects in the vicinity, and these reflections can be observed and processed in A to estimate the position and velocity of these objects.
The combination of communications and sensing is likely to be one of the main features of future communications systems beyond 5G, and at the BI we investigate new waveforms and the appropriate signal-processing techniques that can be efficiently applied to both purposes at low cost. At the same time, we consider hardware implementation scenarios for the designed systems and consider hardware imperfections during algorithm development.