Fisker Ocean EV uses digital imaging 4D radar

EV startup Fisker showcased its Ocean SUV at CES 2022, claiming it will have the first digital-imaging 4D radar system on the market when production starts in November.

The radar system will help enable Ocean’s advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) dubbed Fisker Intelligent Pilot, the company said. It also comes with a surround-view set of cameras and even a camera for monitoring the driver’s behaviors. Ultrasonic technology is also used.

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker said it will use a rapid product deployment business model to bring safety systems to market earlier than competitors. ADAS cameras with 4D digital radar sensors will give owners “industry-leading safety,” he said. The Fisker Ocean Sport will sell for $37,499, while the topline Ocean Extreme and Ocean One launch editions will each sell for $68,999.

They come with a front-facing 8-megapixel camera in addition to 360-degree cameras for base level object detection.

There will also be five radar sensors positioned around the Ocean to confirm and enhance what the cameras see. It is formally called a Digital Code Modulation radar system to provide added perception in bad weather and excessive sun glare.  The system is considered superior to analog radar. 

4D radar is technology that uses echolocation and time-of-flight measurement to map objects in a 3D world. The fourth dimension refers to time, although 4D radar doesn’t map time and instead uses time in calculations to determine the elevation of objects and their relative speed.

Fisker digital radar is tested to locate vehicles at 650 feet and pedestrians at 260 feet, according to the company. It works well in settings of high light and dark contrast such and in tunnels and on bridges. It can be used to differentiate cars from trucks and motorcycles as well. And it can detect low-lying roadway obstructions while also separating objects from backgrounds.

Uhnder, a startup in Austin, Texas, innovated the ICON digital radar in partnership with Magna. 

Fisker Intelligent Pilot also features an A-pillar mounted interior camera that monitors a driver for drowsiness and concentration.

Intelligent Pilot will come standard on Ocean Extreme and Ocean One models to include various features such as lane change assist, blind spot monitoring and a feature called Park My Car, an automatic parking spot finder. Automatic Emergency Braking is a premium feature.

Fisker is one of many startups in the EV space that want to take on Tesla. The top battery range of 350-plus miles for the Ocean One and Ocean Extreme models edges out the Tesla Y with 330 miles. The Sport trim model will have a range of 250 miles, however.

When Henrik Fisker showed the Ocean at the LA Auto Show in November, he mentioned it will use silicon carbide (SiC) inverters instead of traditional inverters with silicon semiconductors to produce less heat and and greater efficiency. An inverter is used in EVs to convert a DC battery into AC. Tesla first used SiC MOSFETS from STMicroelectronics in its Model 3 in 2018.

Ocean also comes with torque vectoring in its all-wheel drive, which relies on electronics to vary the torque in each half-shaft in a vehicle differential. “You’ll feel like a Formula One driver” with torque vectoring, Fisker said.

The Sport model battery will be made with lithium iron phosphate from China-based CATL, while the top models will have batteries made with NMC (lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt oxide). Ocean will be produced by Magna-Steyr in Graz, Austria.

Fisker was among the smaller companies in the automotive space at CES 2022, while giants GM, BMW and Mercedes canceled their physical presence due to a resurgence in the pandemic. GM was still able to show the coming Chevy Silverado EV virtually, while Mercdes Benz revealed a Vision EQXX concept EV in a livestream.

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