Metamaterial startup raises funds to improve automotive radar
The latest funding brings the amount raised by Metawave to $17 million. The company, founded in 2017, is using a combination of metamaterials and artificial intelligence methods with an initial focus on smart radar platforms, for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving. Metawave plans to also work onsmart antenna platforms for fixed wireless and the 5G cellular infrastructure to power point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, and mesh configurations for backhaul and access networks.
“The team has demonstrated a high-resolution automotive 77GHz radar with object classification capabilities based on a simpler architecture that scales for long ranges and wider field of views,” said Maha Achour, Metawave’s CEO, in a statement. “We are now developing strong partnerships, building infrastructure, and hiring the most talented people in this exciting industry.”
The latest round added five new strategic investors, including global automotive supplier Denso who led the round, Toyota AI Ventures, Hyundai Motor Company and Asahi Glass. Participating original investors include Motus Ventures Khosla Ventures, Autotech Ventures, Bold Capital, SAIC Capital, Western Technology Investment and Alrai Capital.
Three sensors crucial to autonomous vehicles are the camera, lidar and radar. While the camera has the highest resolution, it cannot see much beyond 50 meters. Lidar extends that range to 150m with reduced resolution. Radar can see further, and through adverse weather conditions, but has traditionally lacked resolution and required heavy compute resources.
Next: Warlord and Sabre
Metawave’s Warlord radar platform uses a single antenna and pushes complexity to the analog domain where the antenna itself shapes and steers the beam and recognizes objects quickly in the analog space and uses AI to learn what it is seeing.
The 5G market should also be able to benefit from Metawave’s metamaterials and platform.
By enabling the infrastructure to remain the same for 5G as for 4G Metawave’s wireless communications antenna, known as Sabre, enables a narrow beam with long reach to basestations, reduced interference and precise targeting of mobile devices, the company claims.
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