PARC spins off wireless technology company Metawave
PARC announced that it is spinning off Metawave Corp., a wireless technology startup that builds technology solutions based on engineered metamaterials and artificial intelligence (AI). Metawave will commercialize smart beamsteering antenna systems for autonomous vehicles and 5G markets. Incubated at PARC, Metawave secured significant initial seed funding from investors in Silicon Valley and New York.
Dr. Maha Achour, Metawave’s CEO, and Dr. Bernard Casse, CTO, founded the company with the vision of disrupting the status quo in wireless technology by merging adaptive metamaterials and AI to reach performance and safety levels unattainable with today’s technologies.
According to the company, today’s automotive radars are limited—they can’t discriminate objects, do not work well at long ranges and in difficult conditions, and have relatively slow processing speeds. Metawave says that combining the beamsteering/scanning of a pencil beam with intelligent algorithms enables new capabilities such as 3D imaging, identification and classification of objects, non-line-of-sight object detection, and accident anticipation by analyzing traffic patterns—with smart functionality in all-weather conditions. The company believes these capabilities represent the future of automotive radar, which will make self-driving cars a reality.
“This spinoff embodies PARC’s unparalleled commitment to the startup community, and its role in the development and extension of PARC’s world-class innovation ecosystem,” said Dr. Achour. “Metawave is fundamentally changing the way the automotive industry thinks about radars. We are on a mission to build highly intelligent and high-performing automotive radars capable of true 3D vision, vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I), and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication.”
Building on intellectual property developed at PARC, Metawave is working with leading automotive companies to advance its Metamaterial Frequency-Adaptive Steering Technology (M-FAST) platform. The company will also work with global telecommunications infrastructure vendors and service providers to accelerate 5G deployments. Metawave says that the use of M-FAST in cellular networks will yield intelligent radio interfaces and enable networks to support a massive number of devices that demand more bandwidth, at a reasonable cost.
“Working with distinguished PARC researchers, Metawave is poised to provide one of the missing pieces to the autonomous driving safety puzzle, while answering the need for resilient, faster, and affordable 4G and 5G networks,” said PARC’s CEO Dr. Tolga Kurtoglu. PARC has successfully incubated a variety of startups over the past 40 years to deliver breakthrough technology research and bring products to market. PARC says its work with external startups and internally incubated organizations goes beyond the boundaries of traditional entrepreneur-in-residence programs, which typically import industry experts to develop pre-defined commercial opportunities. PARC’s system creates a customized partnership for each venture, which could include technical expertise, intellectual property, facilities resources, lab space, available research, and more. In exchange, PARC receives cash, royalties, equity, license fees, or a combination. More than 30 companies have gone to market via PARC, including PowerCloud Systems, Meshin, SolFocus, and Powerset.