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Hyundai invests in Metawave to build intelligent radars for autonomous vehicles

ABR Staff Writer Published 16 May 2018

Hyundai CRADLE, the venture capital wing of Hyundai Motor has invested in Metawave to help develop smart automotive radar platforms.

Hyundai autonomous vehicles will be equipped with next-generation radar systems.

Metawave uses adaptive metamaterials and artificial intelligence to create smart radars.

Hyundai CRADLE vice president John Suh said: “Next-generation radar technology can use advanced algorithms for object detection and classification.

“A new radar system that can increase resolution and accuracy with an AI engine will be a disruptive technology.”

For self-driving cars, three sensors are considered to be fundamental components for perception and these include camera, LiDAR and radar. While camera is the highest-resolution sensor, it cannot see objects beyond 50 meters. LiDAR can extend the range to up to 150 meters, with fairly high-resolution imaging capability.

Both camera and LiDAR can be affected by bad weather and dirty roads. Radar, on the other hand, can operate at a lower frequency and ‘see’ objects at long ranges faster and in all weathers and all driving conditions.

However, today’s radar cannot cover wide angles at long ranges and also lacks the resolution to differentiate between objects. Large number antennae and expensive chips are needed to run the complex digital signals that are being sent and received by the radar system. Such a system can consume much and time energy, making it inefficient.

Metawave has developed a radar platform, known as WARLORD, which uses just one antenna and pushes the complexity of the analog space, using ultra-fast and precise responses.

With WARLORD, the antenna can shape and steer beam in all directions using pencil beams, while deep learning engines and AI algorithms can recognize objects quickly and send 4D point cloud to the sensor fusion.

Metawave CEO Maha Achour said: “The investment by Hyundai represents another key company milestone and further proof of our rapid momentum as we bring WARLORD long-range radar with imaging and AI capabilities to autonomous vehicles.

“With our talented team of mm-wave and metamaterial experts, we were the first to demonstrate Electronically Scanned Metamaterial Array for Autonomous Driving at 77GHz. This technology will be an enabling factor for Hyundai and other auto leaders who are striving to improve the vehicle experience.”


Image: Metwave’s smart radar system. Photo: Courtesy of Hyundai Motor America.