Ainstein announced the launch and availability of the K-79 autonomous automotive imaging radar sensor. The company says that it's the first commercially available sensor optimized and validated for autonomous operation of vehicles in hazardous conditions, such as low-light and extreme dust. It is designed for use in self-driving industrial trucks, tractors, and similar specialty vehicles.

"There is an urgent market need for sensors that provide LiDAR-like images, but that can function effectively where LiDAR is compromised, such as extremely bright, extremely dim, dusty, and similar conditions," said Andrew Boushie, Ainstein's Vice President of Strategy and Partnerships. "These extreme conditions can make existing camera and LiDAR solutions unreliable. For industry to adopt autonomous driving technology, it is essential that functionality is near flawless in all environments."  

The K-79 produces a high-resolution, detailed point cloud of a vehicle's surroundings for both moving objects, such as other vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians; as well as stationary objects, including railings, idled equipment, and buildings. The sensor pinpoints the location of objects and provides range, speed, azimuth, and elevation information. It creates a 2D point cloud mapping of surroundings and can produce 3D shapes of detected objects, offering LiDAR-like image quality in poor conditions. The K-79 allows for target classification to distinguish between vehicles and pedestrians.

A custom K-79 based sensing solution is currently being piloted by an industry-leading organization to automate mining excavation and material removal.

The K-79 combines advanced algorithms in imaging and localization, and radar system design, which, according to the company, allows it to leverage low-cost commercial radar components to provide a 4D radar point cloud with the most granular details of surroundings at a fraction of the cost of LiDAR systems.

Ainstein is exhibiting at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) AutoMobili-D event, January 14-17, Cobo Center, Detroit, in the Connected Car section (Booth CC004).