The Next Generation of Radar - The Road to Autonomy

The Next Generation of Radar

Dr. Matt Markel, President, Spartan Radar joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss how software is enabling the next generation of radar.

The conversation begins with Matt discussing the current state of the radar.

I think it’s a really interesting time for radar.

– Dr. Matt Markel

When deploying radar on commercial vehicles, the radar has to be optimized and designed for the use-cases that the commercial vehicle will be undertaking on a regular basis. Today, commercial vehicles are using radar to increase safety and in the future it will be used to enable autonomy.

Increasing efficiency by using autonomy is a force multiplier.

– Dr. Matt Markel

Autonomy is not a one-size fits all solution. Autonomy will be achieved in a variety of ways with different tech stacks. One of the hottest debates today is the LiDAR vs radar. Breaking the debate down, Matt shares his thoughts and insights, and explains the environmental limitations to each solution.

Can autonomous vehicles operate at SAE Level 4 with only camera and radar?

Yes, but the real question is what are those conditions? What are those Operational Design Domains? What are those ODDs that this combination can operate in?

– Dr. Matt Markel

A camera, radar system that could operate at SAE Level 4 on highways and SAE Level 3 on suburban roads could help to usher in the personally owned autonomous vehicle market. When it comes to robo-taxis operating in dense urban environments, a full stack including LiDAR, camera and radar is the ideal solution due to the complexity of the ODD.

One of the key ingredients in the autonomous driving stack is software. Spartan very similarly to Waymo is using software to enhance the performance of radar. One of the key differences between Waymo and Spartan’s approach to radar is that Spartan is making their software available to everyone.

We do believe that there is a lot of performance being left on the table with automotive radar today. We can help Tier 1’s unlock that with our software products.

– Dr. Matt Markel

Spartan’s approach is being validated with an investment from Microsoft and a partnership with Tier-1 automotive parts supplier — Valeo.

Because we are adding software capabilities to these systems, it provides flexibility for the Tier-1. It makes them relevant to multiple OEMS, multiple applications, multiple RFQs without a change in the hardware.

– Dr. Matt Markel

Wrapping up the conversation, Matt shares his thoughts on how he sees the radar market evolving over the next decade.

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Recorded on Tuesday, June 6, 2023