How Hi-Resolution Radar will be a Game Changer

July 21, 2020

By Shlomit Hacohen

Today’s radar already plays a vital role in various safety systems. However, the radar options available in the market today are not the right solution to achieving a fully autonomous vehicle – yet.

As the autonomous vehicle industry advances toward anticipated exponential market growth, major players already have begun announcing deals that will make autonomy inevitable. At Arbe, we believe three forces are currently driving both technology and market development:

  1. Shared vehicles, or “robo-taxies,” leveraging the commercial opportunities of level 4 and 5 autonomous operation. Silicon Valley and China are leading the race to launch the first fully autonomous ride share service. We will start seeing the first robo-taxies next year with real market deployment and penetration coming in 2021.
  2. Autonomous technology advancements continue to be made, resulting in cost reduction. We will see luxury, along with mid- and high-range, vehicles implement autonomous functionality at levels 2.5 and 3. These vehicles will operate autonomously in traffic jams, on highways, and park without driver involvement.
  3. Advanced safety features helping to avoid accidents are already on some vehicles and will very quickly cascade across the mass market. Within the next few years, we project more than half of all cars will have level 1 or 2 autonomous driving features. Global New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) regulations and safety star ratings will continue to help drive this adoption trend.

Radar is the only reliable technology to support these trends

We believe that level 3, 4, and 5 vehicle autonomies are not achievable without the robustness of radar. Optic sensors have a higher risk of failure in various weather and lighting conditions. Radar is indispensable due to its functional advantage of being able to penetrate dust, rain, fog, and snow. It is the only sensor able to work around the clock – all day and night.

In addition, as radar technology is more affordable, making it highly valuable for adding level 1 and 2 active safety features to more entry and mid-level vehicle platforms.

Is radar advanced enough for autonomous driving?

Today’s radar already plays a vital role in various safety systems. However, the radar options available in the market today are not the best solution for achieving a fully autonomous vehicle – yet. With the current radar technology, a functional choice must be made between medium resolution at a limited field of view or low resolution at a wide field of view. Current radar systems often show false alarms, which can cause vehicles to needlessly brake under normal driving conditions. They also have challenges with recognizing obstacles that suddenly appear ahead of the vehicle.

At Arbe, our goal is to change all of this by bridging the gap between radar and optical sensors. Our proprietary solution provides the sensitivity of optic sensors with the reliability and maturity of radar technology.

Disrupting radar technology will forever change the industry

Arbe is developing the world’s first ultra-high resolution radar to address the autonomous vehicle sensor challenges of today and of tomorrow. The breakthrough in radar technology lies in our ability to generate a high-resolution, 4D image with the equivalent data rates of more than 2,000 Gbps and process it in real time.

Our radar can deliver a 4D image of the environment: the azimuth and elevation positions, the object ranges, and doppler velocities. It has 10 times higher sensitivity than any other radar currently on the market, sensing the environment at 100-degree field of view with one-degree angular resolution of azimuth and 30-degree field of view with two degrees angular resolution of elevation. In parallel, our radar reaches a range of up to 350 meters, compared to the 100 meters associated with today’s market-leading optic sensors.

Another important differentiating factor is our radar’s ability to filter out false alarms. To provide optimal sensitivity, the radar uses the lowest detection threshold. Post processing and tracking are used to filter out random noise, while calibration schemes allow reaching extremely low side lobe levels.

With the introduction of our high-resolution radar, fewer sensors are required in the entire sensor suite, reducing the overall autonomous vehicle cost and streamlining its operational management.

Addressing safety and autonomy

The capabilities of an advanced radar can be leveraged to provide:

  • Safety related decision making. Applications detecting collision hazards around the vehicle, like predictive emergency breaking, blind-spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, and forward collision warning
  • True path planning. A broad range of assistance applications, such as free space mapping, left turn assist, evasive steering support, adaptive cruise control, and traffic jam assist

Arbe 4D imaging radar is a true enabler of autonomous driving.

Looking beyond autonomous driving

As the radar technology reaches innovation maturity, it can benefit additional mobility and lifestyle markets, like autonomous robots, drones, home safety, and many others.

We are excited about the possibilities.

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