Taking Best of Military Tech to Automotive World

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A military-derived high-resolution radar system will enable fully autonomous vehicles when it goes into production vehicles in 2020. The ICON Radar system uses advanced military radar technology used by the US military to enable precise image detection at about 300 m, continuously scanning to determine distance, height, depth and speed.

Swamy Kotagiri, chief technology officer, Magna said: “Magna has identified some of the world’s most advanced technologies and ‘auto-qualified’ them for use in the auto industry”. “Our ICON Radar takes the best of military technology and improves on it for automotive use – taking a significant step forward toward full autonomy.”

Kotagiri says ICON Radar tracks nearly 100 times more objects than current radar systems, can distinguish between static and moving objects and can differentiate objects such as vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians and animals. The next-generation radar isn’t hampered by weather conditions or other interference.

The system scans 50 times faster than a human eye can blink, giving the vehicle constant information on complex surroundings, enabling instant decision making. It also can differentiate smaller, closer objects even when larger, more distant objects might reflect a stronger signal, according to wardsauto.com.

Magna and technology startup Uhnder are engineering and validating the system with a plan to have it market-ready by 2019 and installed in production vehicles in 2020. Kotagiri says ICON Radar is similar in cost to current automotive radar systems.

The company says the technology can also enhance existing systems to improve automated driving aids such as automatic emergency braking.

With its compact size, the radar also allows greater flexibility in exterior design and can be easily integrated, according to the company’s website.