Compact and affordable mass market 3D radar sensor

7th April 2020
Alex Lynn

Cognitive Pilot, an autonomous driving technology joint venture of Russia’s Sberbank and Cognitive Technologies group, has presented its new, compact and affordable Cognitive Mini Radar sensor. The 3D radar sensor is intended for mass use in the autonomous driving industry and already the device is in demand for fighting the coronavirus.

“We’re developing our own line of sensors for autonomous vehicles, and now we are happy to present our new unique radar designed for mass production. It’s very reasonably priced (several tens of dollars), miniature in size and it’s designed for a very wide class of tasks,” said CEO of Cognitive Pilot Olga Uskova.

Uskova continued: “This mini radar is a fully-functioning 3D sensor but is extremely small – comparable to a toothpick – and weighs only 40 grams. It operates between 77-81 GHz or 60-64 GHz (two models are available) and the operating distance is up to 100 metres. The primary purpose of the radar is to control the space around the perimeter of the vehicle (covering all the blind spots, providing accurate detection while lane changing, at intersections, while parking, etc.).

“The radar can also be used in solving other robotic technology issues and it can be installed on multicopters. ‘It easily integrates with any on-board equipment: computing unit, controller etc. You just need to turn it on and use it right away.”

Cognitive Mini Radar is capable of giving accurate velocities, direction and coordinates of road scene objects in any weather conditions (rain, fog, snow) and at any time of day or night.

The company has already completed the R&D phase and now Cognitive Pilot is in the pre-industrial stage of production preparation. The first clients to use the new Cognitive Mini Radar include Russian transport organizations, international car manufacturers and suppliers of OEM components.

The automotive components market already has a number of radar solutions from very well-known companies, such as Bosch, Continental, Denso, Valeo and others. According to the recent ‘ResearchAndMarkets’ report, the automotive radars market exceeds $3.15bn and will reach $7.68bn by 2026.

However, the nature of this market segment is that the big manufacturers work in large volumes with severe restrictions on functionality and only for big automakers. Usually these brands don’t show much interest in cooperating with the rest of the market, where one client may need just a couple or few dozens of radars per year.

“For this reason many small and medium-size automotive players cannot easily purchase the needed sensors, nor rely on their functionality and technical support. And the number of startup companies in this sector shows that this is a dynamically developing and very promising market. We evaluate the potential volume in this area today at USD 1 billion with a growth about 15-20% per year,” added Uskova.

While having a high-end 4D imaging radar, capable of seeing the detailed shape of objects, in their product line, the development of the new Cognitive Mini Radar gives the company a full-fledged technological platform based on the radar family. Besides autonomous ground vehicles, the new radar can be used in the development of multicopters and drones. The radar can alert people in different hazardous areas or warn about collisions with dangerous objects on the flight route. It can also be used in the area of goods delivery.

Since its development the Cognitive Mini Radar has revealed some unexpected possibilities of its use in other spheres.

Uskova continued: “We’ve been contacted by some manufacturers of integral security systems regarding the use of our radar for restricting people’s access to certain areas, warning about approaching hazardous objects, controlling the distance between people and other objects during the coronavirus epidemic. We already have pre-orders for solving these tasks from several clients in the US and Europe. In the coming weeks we plan to send them prototypes of our radar for testing.”

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