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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2015, Article ID 437083, 10 pages
Research Article

A Novel Variable Index and Excision CFAR Based Ship Detection Method on SAR Imagery

College of Electronic Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha, Hunan 410073, China

Received 10 December 2014; Revised 3 March 2015; Accepted 3 March 2015

Academic Editor: Ignacio R. Matias

Copyright © 2015 Kefeng Ji et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


When applying the constant false alarm rate (CFAR) detector to ship detection on synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery, multiple interferers such as upwelling, breaking waves, ambiguities, and neighboring ships in a dense traffic area will degrade the probability of detection. In this paper, we propose a novel variable index and excision CFAR (VIE-CFAR) based ship detection method to alleviate the masking effect of multiple interferers. Firstly, we improve the variable index (VI) CFAR with an excision procedure, which censors the multiple interferers from the reference cells. And then, the paper integrates the novel CFAR concept into a ship detection scheme on SAR imagery, which adopts the VIE-CFAR to screen reference cells and the distribution to derive detection threshold. Finally, we analyze the performances of the VIE-CFAR under different environments and validate the proposed method on both ENVISAT and TerraSAR-X SAR data. The results demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms other existing detectors, especially in the presence of multiple interferers.