eWEEK PRODUCT ANALYSIS: Metawave SPEKTRA is a new kind of analog beamsteering radar to detect and classify objects in all-weather, complex driving scenarios, giving automakers the sensor needed to deliver highly automated driving.
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Today: SPEKTRA Beamsteering Radar
Company description: Metawave is proving to be an innovator in analog beamsteering radar for autonomous vehicles. It is also delivering all-analog 5G repeater and reflector platforms that economically extend and boost millimeter-wave 5G signals at high frequencies. Founded in 2017 by Maha Achour as a spinout from XEROX PARC, Metawave is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif, with state-of-the-art automotive and 5G testing labs in Palo Alto and Carlsbad, Calif.
Markets: Metawave works with global automotive Tier 1 suppliers to test its radar in real-world driving environments and works closely with carriers in the US, Japan, and Europe to deploy 5G in cities, stadiums, airports, etc.
Metawave said it successfully demonstrated its SPEKTRA analog beamsteering radar in February 2020, which the company says is able to clearly detect vehicles beyond 300 m (984 ft) and pedestrians beyond 200 m (656 ft) with the highest angular resolution.
The company says that SPEKTRA’s key technology is its enabling MARCONI, the first-of-its-kind phase controller, which was developed at 77GHz and augmented by its proprietary adaptive phase and amplitude calibration systems for precise 0.1° steering angles. Only using focused beams and small cross-sections can radar detect objects, such as pedestrians and hazardous road objects, at long ranges and in all weather conditions. The narrow beams and high angular precision allow the radar to track cross-traffic, a difficult problem for traditional radars.
The company said it plans to launch its AWARE AI platform later this year to give the radar the added intelligence for real-time object classification and labeling for more efficient and faster advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) processing because of its proprietary machine learning sensor fusion platform. Combined, these features enable it to deliver what the company says is superior accuracy, even in heavy storms, the dark of night and dense fog, even as the vehicle travels at highway speeds.
Metawave SPEKTRA: Metawave’s radar platform is able to reach a high angular resolution from the analog space (due to its ability to form a very narrow beam that is steered to see its surroundings), enabling it to distinguish between objects right next to each other (such as a car and bike). Its narrow beam in the analog domain enable it to quickly detect objects in the vehicle’s field of view (FoV) with very high accuracy while avoiding interference. Its focused beams and small cross-sections allow SPEKTRA to detect objects, such as pedestrians and hazardous road objects, at long ranges and in all weather conditions. Further, the narrow beam and high angular precision allows SPEKTRA to track cross-traffic, a difficult problem for traditional radar.
Metawave AWARE: Metawave’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) platform that enables SPEKTRA to perform real-time object classification and labeling for more efficient and faster Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) processing. Because of its machine learning sensor fusion platform, AWARE enables SPEKTRA to deliver accuracy in storms, darkness, and dense fog, even as vehicles travel at highway speeds.
Metawave MARCONI: At the heart of SPEKTRA is the MARCONI 77GHz phase controllers and mmWave integrated circuits, which, when used with the company’s proprietary calibration system, enable the transmit and receive beams to be steered in steps of 0.1º in the range of ±22º.
Metawave TURBO: Metawave’s TURBO™ analog active repeaters are equipped with dual polarized, reconfigurable antenna arrays, and boost signals by a thousand times to greatly extend coverage and reduce the need for additional base stations.
Metawave ECHO: Requiring no power or license to operate, Metawave’s analog ECHO™ passive reflectors are elegantly designed “smart mirrors” that bend and direct signals into low coverage areas making consumers feel more at ease with 5G.
Funding partners: DENSO, Toyota AI Ventures, NTT DoCoMo, Hyundai, Infineion, SAIC, Motus Ventures, Khosla Ventures, Autotech Ventures, BOLD Capital Partners, AGC, Thyra Global Management, WTI, Mirae Asset Partners.
What analysts and customers say:
Rich Dauber, Director of 77GHz Radar Platforms for Veoneer: "Metawave has essentially packaged a front-end radar using their own phase controllers, antenna array, and calibration control tables using a single transceiver radar chip to achieve impressive transmit and receive performance. Their CES SPEKTRA demonstration showed long-range performance with excellent angular accuracy and resolution.” Veoneer designs, compiles and sells state-of-the-art software, hardware and systems for active safety, autonomous driving, occupant protection, and brake control.
John Suh, Head of Hyundai CRADLE at Hyundai Motor Company: “We have been impressed with what Metawave has accomplished and demonstrated to date. The beamsteering capability will enable a new generation of automotive radar.”
Tony Cannestra, Director of Corporate Ventures for the North American Research and Engineer Center at DENSO: “Metawave is making incredible strides in demonstrating what advanced radar is capable of achieving. Automakers and Tier 1 suppliers are looking for a new kind of sensor that can detect and classify at long ranges, separate stationary objects at long range, and perform well in inclement weather conditions and in the dark. Metawave has proven its analog beamsteering radar can help achieve this. We look forward to continuing our work with them, and other startups, to make the world’s roads safer by advancing new technologies.”
Tailored to meet the needs of each customer. Automakers and Tier 1 providers can join Metawave’s Proof of Concept (POC) Program by contacting marketing and sales at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Other key players in this market: Bosch, Continental, Uhnder, Arbe Robotics, and other radar providers.
Contact information for potential customers: