While much of the buzz in vehicle navigation systems over the past few years has been in LiDAR, radar is far from dead. According to WaveSense CEO and co-founder Tarik Bolat, a supplier of ground-penetrating radar (GPR), automakers are actively considering radar for passenger and fleet vehicles.
In a brief interview with FierceElectronics last week, Bolat declined to give specifics but said the company is now in design validation trials with several unnamed customers, including Tier 1 automotive suppliers and OEMs. The company is trying to design-in automotive radar systems that go beyond the Level 2 autonomy.
WaveSense’s GPR technology uses subterranean scanning to create maps that capture surface and subsurface features. The technology used in the WaveSense GPR technology scans the surface and compares the scan data to its onboard map, to determine the exact vehicle position in relation to the vehicle’s road lane. This navigation mode has been utilized by the U.S. military and has been demonstrated to be accurate to within a few centimeters at standard highway speeds.
“For localization-based sensing apps, we beat LiDAR on cost and performance. We can work in snow, rain, ice, and fog,” said Bolat. He added that WaveSense is looking into GPR for automated parking and ADAS for vehicles.
According to the company, the GPR technology used by WaveSense does not require post processing like cameras and LiDAR, because the subterranean onboard map is static. The guide is always available for self-driving vehicles.
Bolat noted that applications for GPR-based radar goes beyond automotive. “We’re getting interest from environmental companies, railways, agricultural users, and infrastructure companies.”
He added that GPR is also gaining getting interest from users in construction, mining, warehouses, airports, and utilities.