Metawave Receives Series A Funding for its Automotive Beamsteering Radar

Metawave Corporation, an automated driving and wireless solutions provider, has received initial Series A funding from DENSO, Mirae Asset Capital, NTT DOCOMO Ventures, and BOLD Capital partners. Metawave is leveraging machine learning and artificial intelligence for analog radars, to build the first beamsteering radar system (SPEKTRA) capable of distinguishing between objects in difficult driving scenarios and in all-weather conditions -- making cars safer and smarter. The company has been delivering its Proof of Concept (POC) to leading automakers and Tier 1 transportation providers since 2019, demonstrating its beamforming and beamsteering capabilities in today’s difficult driving scenarios, including enhancing automated features like cut in / cut out, automated braking, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control.

Metawave’s Series A round is augmented by NTT DOCOMO Venture’s inclusion, an important addition given Metawave’s 5G technology innovation – Metawave ECHO and TURBO to bend and boost mm-wave signals for a more efficient and convenient way to increase 5G coverage. Metawave’s initial seed round of $17 million included financial support from giants in the automotive market, including DENSO, Toyota, Hyundai, Infineon, and others.

To be able to work on innovative hardware, system, software, and AI platforms in such high-growth markets is exciting and challenging. Metawave’s consumer expectations and business demands are increasing with the advent of new technologies, especially in mobility and connectivity, and being able to work closely with 5G and automotive leaders helps them to visualize the future and continuously adapt as roads become safer and people strive to be more productive.

Safety requirements, as well as expectations for a smooth riding experience facing the auto industry,  cannot be met using only today’s sensors, even including top digital beamforming (DBF) or MIMO radars. Leading automakers are looking for an innovative radar that provides longer range, higher resolution, and with greater angular accuracy and intelligent object classification. State-of-the-art analog radar delivers these critical features, giving automakers the ability to provide next-generation adaptive cruise control, lane change assist, and automated emergency braking. Clearing these hurdles is critical to ensuring the highest levels of repeatable and dependable safety adherence while gaining long-term community acceptance. The automotive radar market is expected to reach $10.5B by 2026, growing at a significant rate of 20.4% during the forecasted period 2019 to 2026.

Electronically beam steering radar will fundamentally change the way automakers think about sensors and their ADAS fusion, and Metawave has a head start in solving this complicated problem with a robust and modular technology platform. At the same time, the growth in 5G is expected to be significant in the near term. 5G provides 100 times faster data speeds than 4G, while supporting low-latency applications such as autonomous driving, making it possible for multiple devices to be responsive in real-time. 5G allows networks to transmit 10,000 times the traffic with less than 1-millisecond latency. And, it’s more reliable than prior cellular networks opening the doors to applications that support smart cities and autonomous driving.

Tackling complex advancements in one industry is difficult enough, but to apply that same technology to two giant industries is incredible. The go-to-market approach Metawave is taking is smart –focused on working with global leaders in each industry. They’re already seeing much interest of both the radar and 5G platforms. 

Metawave SPEKTRA Automotive Radar with AWARE AI

The Metawave radar system is called  SPEKTRA. It is using the latest advances in deep learning to extract meaningful information, Metawave’s proprietary AI platform, called AWARE, is integrated with its radar platform to solve the ‘lack-of-precision’ issue.

Metawave 5G Platforms ECHO and TURBO with AWARE AI

To support the development of 5G, Metawave is developing its state-of-the-art TURBO active repeaters and ECHO passive reflectors to enable faster, more efficient 5G and fixed wireless deployments to bring high-speed connectivity to billions of users as they connect in bustling cities, busy office buildings, crowded concerts and sporting events, and under-serviced pockets all around the world. The company demonstrated results with DOCOMO in late 2018, showing how the ECHO platform boosts signals for better communication speed and coverage using 5G. Metawave is working with leading telecoms to demonstrate both ECHO and TURBO, giving 5G users faster, economical, and reliable connectivity. Metawave's network planning AWARE AI utilizes a combination of deep learning and traditional electromagnetic simulations. It enables users to scan their application area – in office buildings, cities, stadiums, and more – and makes precise suggestions for optimal locations and arrangements of ECHO and TURBO platforms.