Advanced 77 GHz Beam-Steering Radar Solution for Autonomous Vehicles

At CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Metawave successfully demonstrated its award-winning SPEKTRA analog beam-steering radar. SPEKTRA is one of the most accurate and intelligent automotive radars available today and can clearly detect vehicles beyond 300 meters and pedestrians beyond 200 meters with a high angular resolution. Metawave has filed for 150+ patents to date and received its first issued patent in 2019. 

At the heart of SPEKTRA are Metawave’s MARCONI 77 GHz phase controllers and mm-Wave integrated circuits, which, when used with their proprietary calibration system, enable the transmit and receive beams to be precisely steered in steps of 0.1º in the range of ±22º. SPEKTRA’s high angular resolution enables it to distinguish between objects right next to each other (such as a car and biker). Its narrow beams in the analog domain enable it to quickly detect objects in the vehicle’s field of view (FoV) with very high accuracy while avoiding interference. The focused beams and small cross-sections allow SPEKTRA to detect objects, such as pedestrians and hazardous road objects, at long distances and in all weather conditions. Further, the narrow beam and high angular precision allow SPEKTRA to track cross-traffic, a difficult problem for traditional radar.

In the coming months, Metawave plans to launch AWARE, the proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) platform that enables SPEKTRA to perform real-time object classification and labeling for more efficient and faster Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) processing. Because of its machine learning sensor fusion platform, AWARE enables SPEKTRA to deliver accuracy in storms, darkness, and dense fog, even as vehicles travel at highway speeds.

SPEKTRA’s ability to detect and classify objects beyond 300 meters is due to its unique ability to focus extremely narrow beams across the vehicle’s entire FoV. Metawave is the only automotive radar company to demonstrate a calibrated phased array and front-end solution using one single conventional Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar transceiver chip, enabling analog beamforming signals. Traditional radars use four or more transceiver chips for digital beamforming or they ‘flash’ a wide FoV, limiting range and preventing their ability to accurately distinguish between objects that are close in proximity.

Metawave is engaging with select customers to participate in the SPEKTRA proof-of-concept evaluation program, allowing automotive leaders to affordably test the next-generation radar for highly automated and autonomous driving, while having access to Metawave experts and its state-of-the-art labs. By offering the flexibility to extract raw data from the radar sensor, customers can run their own algorithms and seamlessly process SPEKTRA data within their software stack.

Radar is a critical sensor when deploying highly automated and autonomous driving. According to Markets and Markets, the Global Automotive Radar Market is predicted to reach $6.61 billion by 2021. Radar’s ability to provide accurate velocity information, under complicated driving conditions, makes it imperative for autonomous vehicle deployment and growth.

Automakers and Tier 1 suppliers are looking for a new kind of sensor that can detect and classify at long ranges, separate stationary objects at long range, and perform well in inclement weather conditions and in the dark. Metawave has proven its analog beam-steering radar can help achieve this. 

SPEKTRA provides automakers with the ability to deliver ADAS and safety features, including left turn assist, blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, traffic jam pilot, highway pilot, automatic emergency braking, lane assist, etc.