4D Imaging Radar – The Best of All Worlds

March 15, 2021

By Shlomit Hacohen

4D Imaging Radar Will Get Us to the Era of Driverless Cars

Back in the pioneering days of autonomous vehicles, the cars were extremely bulky and noticeable for looking “unusual”. They had multiple pieces of protruding equipment around the car that housed various groupings of cameras, radar and LiDAR. All three sensors were needed to solve the autopilot problem. This is because each sensor has its strength and weakness. Cameras are good at detecting objects in high resolution but are affected by adverse weather and lighting conditions. Radar operates well in poor weather but has low resolution. LiDAR can detect objects with detail and accuracy but, again, does not really perform in bad weather. 

A new type of radar utilizing breakthrough technology needed to be built from scratch. One that combines the strengths and eliminates the weaknesses of the current group of sensors–superior resolution and object detection in all environmental conditions. This is where Arbe’s 4D Imaging Radar makes a profound impact on the autonomous vehicle industry reaching the higher levels of autonomy (on the widely accepted L1-L5 scale).

Radar is crucial to the automotive industry; it is deployed in nearly all new vehicles as a long range, cost-effective sensor with the fewest environmental limitations. The increasing pace of ADAS innovations has been quite a boon to the radar industry. But to reach the higher levels of safety and autonomy and reach the era of hands free driving, Radar had to be innovated.

4D imaging radar, based on Arbe’s proprietary chipset solution, is the very first to provide high sensitivity, high-resolution, full spatial sensing (including elevation). It provides an unmatched image quality for decision making at both a long range and wide field of view in all weather and lighting conditions, with no doppler ambiguity. This allows for object detection that determines the exact boundaries of obstacles in a lane like a truck under a bridge, fence or tire in the lane, motorcycle next to a truck, etc. which can then alert highway autopilot, emergency braking, and steering features. It also provides reliable detection of vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists, etc., resolving the causes of the recent ADAS and auto pilot related road accidents.

OEMs can now rely on this advanced sensing technology and move forward in developing perception algorithms that provide the vehicle’s ego-velocity, in lane localization, tracking and classifying of objects, and precise free space mapping. Such trustworthy tracking is the key to eliminating false alarms that are common with current generation radars. Driver assist systems can now trust the reading from radar and achieve a fast response time as well as prevent the vehicle from stopping needlessly. The 4D imaging radar provides the basis for navigation, path planning, and obstacle avoidance needed to truly support the sensing requirements of Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicles in terms of both safety and accuracy.

By providing two orders of magnitude higher resolution for reliable detection of vehicle surroundings and supporting over 100,000 detections per frame, Arbe’s technological advancements deliver a point cloud density that is unparalleled to any other radar solution on the market.

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