PALO ALTO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Metawave Corporation, leading provider of advanced radar for autonomous driving and wireless communications for 5G deployments, announced today that it has built and successfully demonstrated a first-of-its-kind phase controller to power its 77 GHz automotive radar platform, WARLORD™, for automotive and broad transportation applications. The phase controllers will also be deployed with Metawave’s novel antenna arrays to power its SABER™ platform for 5G and fixed wireless unlicensed deployments. All of Metawave’s platforms are integrated with AWARE™, Metawave’s proprietary AI software for object detection and classification as well as potential network planning and data load management for wireless deployments.
“This kind of integrated circuit, especially at these high frequencies, simply does not exist in the market,” said Raul Alidio, Director, RFIC, and mmWave development for Metawave. “In order to deliver a platform that could steer pencil-thin beams with high resolution, our high-precision phase controllers had to be built, tested, demonstrated, and proven. The performance of our 77 GHz phase controllers have exceeded our expectations in that they have lower insertion loss than existing off-the-shelf phase controllers used for lower frequency applications. We look forward to delivering an entire system that can offer analog beamsteering to revolutionize autonomous driving, based on our SOA phase controller.”
Metawave’s phase controller allows the heavy lifting required for precision beamshaping and steering control to be done in the analog space vs. pure digital. The results are dependable and repeatable. The primary analog platform requires less power, creates low insertion loss, and allows for faster processing and reaction time in-vehicle or in the wireless communication deployment. Metawave’s proprietary phase controllers are initially built using GaAs materials, and will be ultimately built using SiGe and CMOS, to meet specific demands of customer applications.
Ian Riches, VP for the Global Automotive Practice with Strategy Analytics, a firm that combines business planning experience, advanced analytical tools and end-user research to help its clients evaluate markets, companies & technologies, commented on Metawave’s news. “The innovation coming from start-ups in the automotive industry is really fun to witness. Today’s news from Metawave is a big step forward in providing a critical piece of the sensor puzzle for autonomous driving — analog beamsteering for a more efficient and accurate radar. The combination of its own phase controller, integrated with its antenna, gives Metawave a significant foothold in the IP required to bring next-generation automotive radar to market. It will be interesting to see how the incumbent chip vendors respond.”
Metawave’s advances will have near-term impact on existing OEM programs that consist of the building blocks of full autonomy. WARLORD represents an inexpensive, high-resolution sensor that can overcome many of the challenges (i.e. cut-in and cut-out scenarios) in automatic emergency breaking (AEB), highway pilot (HWP, aka traffic-jam pilot, “super-cruise,” etc.), and forward-collision warning systems (FCWS). Existing radar cannot take this auto functionality to the next level of safety and autonomy, and OEMs are relying on more expensive sensors, such as lidar.
“Without this phase controller and its tight integration with the antenna array elements, effective analog beamsteering is not possible,” said Metawave founder and CEO, Maha Achour. “We’re making lives safer and better by developing analog-based radar and wireless platforms. Without the hard work and specific skills of Raul and his team, we simply wouldn’t have been able to build our innovative platform. This is a very big step in the history of Metawave, and the wireless communication industry.”
Metawave is delivering a new kind of automotive radar, one that pushes the complexity to analog. WARLORD integrates today’s newly announced phase controller, plus one antenna with meta-structures to shape and steer the beam, and recognizes objects quickly in the analog space. All of Metawave’s offerings leverage AI to detect and classify objects, and continue to ‘learn’ as the radar sees moving and sedentary objects (other autos, pedestrians, bicyclists, lamp posts, bridge guards, etc.). Metawave’s advanced, intelligent radar will play a significant role in achieving higher safety standards in the automotive and transportation industries, especially in inclement weather including dense fog and heavy storms, which cameras and LiDAR are not able to do. WARLORD’s high-resolution allows for detection and classification of objections at 300-350 meters through Metawave’s proprietary learning AI engines.