Magna has taken military radar intended to track aircraft and guide weapons and qualified it for automotive use. Magna says the resulting high-definition ICON sets a new standard in radar for self-driving vehicles, and is the latest example of the company’s vision-based technology for new mobility.

The company partnered with Uhnder, a technology startup, to develop and bring ICON to market in 2019. The technology helps the driver and vehicle to "see" the road ahead and be able to anticipate—and not just in terms of distance. It tracks objects and obstacles by scanning the environment in four dimensions—distance, height, depth, and speed— with a range of more than 1000 ft (300 m).

Compared with less-sophisticated radar systems that cluster objects, ICON can differentiate between small and large targets. It can detect and track almost 100 times more objects than competitive systems and classifies them individually. And it can let the vehicle know what is living and what is inanimate—which can be crucial information in calculating the direction and speed of an object. Its compact size means it can be easily integrated into an automaker’s autonomous system or as part of Magna’s MAX4 autonomous vehicle platform.

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