Metawave Corporation, announced that it has successfully demonstrated the world’s first automated 77GHz electronically steerable antenna calibration system for realising dependable and repeatable beamsteering. In recent news Metawave announced the demonstration of its millimetre-wave analog phase controller, also a critical component that enables analog beamsteering radar for highly automated driving, an important step toward full autonomy.
Metawave’s WARLORD radar system enables near instantaneous positioning of the radar beam anywhere within a set field of view (FOV), allowing the beam position to be changed in microseconds. The innovative design eliminates typical limitations and failures of existing radars while extending detection range and enhancing angular resolution. The flexibility of WARLORD facilitates multi-modal radar operation, delivers automated multi-target tracking, and greatly reduces interference.
“Our proprietary phase controller gives our radar platform the precision needed for analog beamsteering control using less power, due to low insertion loss, and allows for faster processing and reaction time,” said Metawave VP of Engineering, Shoaib Shafi. “Automating the calibration process of electronically steerable antennas is a critical milestone to further perfect and reduce unnecessary interference from non-critical shadows often picked up by today’s massive MIMO and digital beamforming radars.”
With highly focused transmitter beamsteering, Metawave can point the beam specifically on what the target needs to detect in order to make critical driving decisions quickly, safely, and smoothly. Metawave’s highly advanced and carefully demonstrated beamsteering capability empowers its proprietary AI platform – AWARE – with the ability to identify regions of interest and quickly detect and classify objects, both up-close and in the distance (~300 metres), ensuring the automobile receives the information needed to make critical driving decisions.
The calibration system was completed in partnership with The University of Oklahoma Advanced Radar Research Centre (ARRC) at the Radar Innovation Lab (RIL), a research facility directed by Dr. Robert Palmer.
“Working with Metawave at these high-frequency bands has been a rewarding experience for our team and has benefitted our program, considering our leadership role in radar calibration,” said Palmer. “This type of partnership is important, especially when delivering cutting-edge technology. Together, we are rethinking how a newly designed radar can truly serve as one of the most important sensors in the future of the automotive industry.”
At the ARRC, Dr. Jorge Salazar leads the Phased Array Antenna and Development (PAARD) group that focuses on the design of high-performance active antennas for multifunction phased array radars, including integration, characterisation, and calibration from S- to W-bands. Dr. Salazar has vast experience in the design and calibration of phased array antennas. He is a professor and researcher at the school of Electrical and Computer Engineering at The University of Oklahoma.
“Working with antenna designs for very high frequencies is challenging, especially when the concept involves a radar designed to save lives by improving automobile safety,” said Dr. Salazar. “Active electronically scanned arrays have not been previously utilised in automobile technology. The challenges of this project required an uncommon skill-set and experience in active phased array antennas. Having the opportunity to work with the Metawave team of creative engineers to calibrate their 77GHz radar antenna was a fantastic experience for my team. It made the development of this complex project much easier and realizable in a short time.”
Dr. Salazar assembled a diverse team of experts in radar design and calibration from the Advanced Radar Research Centre to enable the acceleration of this project. A novel millimetre RF scanner was designed, implemented, validated, and tested with Metawave in a very impressive few months. The customised RF scanner enables testing and calibration of an active array in near-field and far-field operating modes.
“This advanced steering calibration will soon play a significant role for automakers wanting to achieve higher safety standards at low cost and low power consumption and helps them keep pace as highly automated features continue to be deployed. I continue to be proud of my team and our partners as we roll out technology milestones getting us to a fully demonstrated platform highly anticipated by the auto industry,” said Metawave CEO and Founder Maha Achour.
Metawave is delivering a new kind of automotive radar, one that balances complexity between digital and analog. WARLORD integrates our proprietary phase controller using a single transceiver antenna port to shape and steer the beam and detects objects quickly by leveraging analog data. Metawave’s offerings include our AI perception layer to recognise and classify objects and continue to ‘learn’ as the radar sees moving and inactive objects (autos, pedestrians, bicyclists, lamp posts, guards, etc.) in complex operating scenarios.
Metawave’s WARLORD is an inexpensive, long-range, high-resolution sensor that can overcome many of today’s driving challenges, including cut-in / cut-out scenarios, automatic emergency breaking (AEB), highway pilot (HWP, aka traffic-jam pilot, super-cruise), and forward-collision warning systems (FCWS).