Journal of Systems Engineering and Electronics ›› 2020, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (5): 950-956.doi: 10.23919/JSEE.2020.000063

• Defence Electronics Technology • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Lira-YOLO: a lightweight model for ship detection in radar images

Long ZHOU1,2,*(), SuyuanX WEI2(), Zhongma CUI1(), Jiaqi FANG1(), Xiaoting YANG1(), Wei DING1,3()   

  1. 1 Beijing Institute of Remote Sensing Equipment, Beijing 100854, China
    2 Xi'an High-tech Research Institute, Xi'an 710025, China
    3 School of Information and Communication Engineering, University of Electronic Science
  • Received:2019-05-13 Online:2020-10-30 Published:2020-10-30
  • Contact: Long ZHOU;;;;;
  • About author:ZHOU Long was born in 1995. He received his B.S. degrees from Xi'an University of Posts & Telecommunications in 2017. He is currently an M.S. degree candidate in Xi'an High-tech Research Institute. His current major research interests are lightweight convolutional neural network and object detection of radar images.E-mail:|WEI Suyuan was born in 1971. She received her Ph.D. degree from Xidian University in 2013. Her major research interests are pattern recognition and computer network & communication.E-mail:|CUI Zhongma was born in 1978. He received his B.S. degree from Anhui University in 2000, and M.S. degree from the Second Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited in 2003, respectively. His major research interests are radar system design and intelligent identification technology.E-mail:|FANG Jiaqi was born in 1984. He received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Xidian University in 2007, 2011 and 2016, respectively. His major research interests are radar signal processing and intelligent identification technology.E-mail:|YANG Xiaoting was born in 1989. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Hebei University of Science and Technology and Beijing Institute of Technology in 2012 and 2016, respectively. She is now an engineer and her major research interest is object detection based on radar signals.E-mail:|DING Wei was born in 1992. He received his B.S. degree in North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power in 2017. He is currently an M.S. degree candidate in University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. His current major research interest is lane detection.E-mail:
  • Supported by:
    the Joint Fund of Equipment Pre-Research and Aerospace Science and Industry(6141B07090102);This work was supported by the Joint Fund of Equipment Pre-Research and Aerospace Science and Industry (6141B07090102)


For the detection of marine ship objects in radar images, large-scale networks based on deep learning are difficult to be deployed on existing radar-equipped devices. This paper proposes a lightweight convolutional neural network, LiraNet, which combines the idea of dense connections, residual connections and group convolution, including stem blocks and extractor modules. The designed stem block uses a series of small convolutions to extract the input image features, and the extractor network adopts the designed two-way dense connection module, which further reduces the network operation complexity. Mounting LiraNet on the object detection framework Darknet, this paper proposes Lira-you only look once (Lira-YOLO), a lightweight model for ship detection in radar images, which can easily be deployed on the mobile devices. Lira-YOLO's prediction module uses a two-layer YOLO prediction layer and adds a residual module for better feature delivery. At the same time, in order to fully verify the performance of the model, mini-RD, a lightweight distance Doppler domain radar images dataset, is constructed. Experiments show that the network complexity of Lira-YOLO is low, being only 2.980 Bflops, and the parameter quantity is smaller, which is only 4.3 MB. The mean average precision (mAP) indicators on the mini-RD and SAR ship detection dataset (SSDD) reach 83.21{%} and 85.46{%}, respectively, which is comparable to the tiny-YOLOv3. Lira-YOLO has achieved a good detection accuracy with less memory and computational cost.

Key words: lightweight, radar images, ship detection, you only look once (YOLO)