Cognitive Technologies says it has developed the world’s first industrial prototype of imaging radar for self-driving cars. The Cognitive 4D Imaging Radar can reportedly detect objects at a distance of 300 m in the range of azimuth angles greater than 90-100 degrees and elevation angles up to 15-20 degrees. The frequency band is 76 to 81 GHz. The radar is the size of two iPhones. Cognitive 4D Imaging Radar does the vertical scanning without the use of any mechanical elements, according to the company.

“Until now on the autonomous driving market there is no such radar that is ready for a serial mass production. Cognitive Imaging Radar detects not only the coordinates and speed of the road scene objects, but also their shape—just like a video camera does. This is truly a third eye of an autonomous vehicle. Radar works at any speed, in any weather conditions, and has the best resolution and accuracy of object detection—over 97.7%. In combination with video camera—this fusion guarantees safety on the road. This is the revolutionary development for the entire automotive industry. Another important thing is that the device has an affordable cost and compact dimensions, which makes it possible to start mass production right now,” said Olga Uskova, President of Cognitive Technologies.

The company says that existing radars currently available on the market work only in one horizontal dimension. These conventional radars can only calculate distance to objects, trajectory of their movements, and speed. But they cannot determine the shape of objects and can have difficulty distinguishing a car from a pedestrian or a bridge from a long truck.

To obtain the necessary information about the road scene, Cognitive says many car manufacturers use LiDARs. However, says the company, the physical characteristics of LiDARs significantly decrease in rain, snow, fog, and dust. In addition, their cost can be comparable to the price of the entire vehicle. These factors exclude the possibility of their industrial use at this time.

In addition, radar supports the SAR tech (synthetic-aperture radar) that is used to recreate the environment around the vehicle. This technology uses the radar and onboard computer of the vehicle to build a map of the environment around the vehicle. Such a map is necessary for any autonomous vehicle to understand where the car is located and what scenarios on the road are possible. The technology also allows the robocar to see in high quality objects such as potholes and curbs.

The cost of the radar will not exceed a few hundred dollars, according to Cognitive.

“Together with partners, the company plans to start producing 4-4.5 million radars per year by 2022. As for now, Cognitive Technologies has got a pre-order from a car manufacturer for 200 thousand units,“ noted Olga Uskova.