Radar for Autonomous Machines

Radar is an ideal sensor for autonomous machines navigating outdoor environments. The gold standard in high-performance radar is electronically scanned array (ESA) radar. Previously, ESA radars were not available to machine perception developers because of the radars' size, weight, power and cost. Now ESA is available thanks to Echodyne's MESA technology which enables a new line of high-performance ESA radar for autonomous flying and driving machines. 

EchoFlight airborne radar

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Some UAV applications can be conducted within the operator’s line of sight, but many of the high-value applications for UAVs require flying beyond the operator’s line of sight. For missions beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), airspace situational awareness is essential for safety. And radar is a critical safety sensor. 

UAVs come in many sizes, for many purposes, and operate at varying altitudes. Larger aircraft, such as air taxis and cargo transport drones, can easily support a robust onboard sensor suite which should include compact ESA radar. 

Radar for UAV

EchoFlight on AATI aircraft

EchoFlight radars on AATI's UAV for NASA Armstrong SIO

Airspace Management

Smaller aircraft, such as medical or package delivery drones, might not have payload budget for large onboard sensors. Remote ID will provide awareness of cooperative UAVs in the airspace, but an additional solution is needed to provide full situational awareness of uncooperative aircraft in the airspace.

For dense flight areas, such as cities, corridors, and drone ports, a network of ground-based sensors generating rich airspace situational awareness data benefits all fliers and has substantial cost advantages over equipping sUAS with multiple onboard sensors. Radar data is easily consumed by UAS Service Suppliers (USS) and integrated with UTM data feeds for managed airspace that accelerates the business of airborne machines. 

radar for Airspace Management

EchoGuard on Alyeska pipeline

EchoGuard radars deployed for ground-based airspace management by University of Alaska Fairbanks for the FAA's IPP

Autonomous Vehicles

EchoDrive, designed for autonomous vehicles, is inspired by the way the human eyes and brain work together to understand their surroundings and resolve ambiguity. When a person’s peripheral vision detects something, the brain directs the eye to examine it further to remove the ambiguity.

The brain of the AV is referred to as the AV Stack. It is currently limited by 1-way data flows from sensor and fusion layers. The AV stacks of today have no ability to focus on a particular ambiguous element of the driving scene to remove ambiguity.

We believe this inability to focus sensor resources to remove ambiguity is a fundamental blocker to true "eyes-and-hands-off" vehicle transportation. Echodyne has developed a first-of-its-kind high resolution imaging radar that allows the AV stack to dynamically task the radar for data regarding specific regions of a driving scene.

radar for Cognitive AV

EchoDrive radar on vehicle sensor stack

EchoDrive radar integrated into sensor array for L4+ autonomous vehicle testing

Smart Cities

The idea of multiple package delivery companies operating fleets of drones in urban airspace rightly causes concern. Just as cities use advanced traffic management sensor and information networks to optimize the roadway system, so will cities need a similar sensor and information network for the unmanned aerial future.

Similar principles hold true for ground transportation. Autonomous vehicles of various sizes and functions are part of our future. Optimizing the flow of people and goods will be an increasingly data-driven real-time logistics challenge.

Echodyne offers a suite of products all related to improving transportation and transportation-dependent services while ensuring safety through data-driven situational awareness. If your company is involved in Smart Cities programs and would like to learn more about the role radars will play in safely managed Smart Cities, we would welcome the conversation. 

Contact us

EchoGuard looking over San Diego harbor

EchoGuard radars deployed on rooftop in major U.S. urban city for airspace detection and tracking demonstration

Have other questions about intelligent systems and autonomous machines?