Magna’s digital radar, dubbed ICON, will enhance a vehicle’s ability to “see” its surroundings and detect potential dangers, from a stalled car in a dark tunnel to a pedestrian up to 150 meters away, the supplier promises. “ICON Digital Radar dramatically improves performance over today’s analog radar, bringing it to levels which have not yet been experienced in automotive applications,” says Boris Shulkin, Executive Vice President, Technology and Investment at Magna International. “Similar to other digital breakthroughs in the consumer electronics and mobile phone industries, we expect digital radar to transform the way we think about radar’s role in road safety.”
Magna and Austin, Texas-based Uhnder partnered to develop the technology, which continuously scans its full environment in four dimensions, resulting in higher resolution and better contrast than analog radar. As a result, ICON Radar can sense moving or standing objects, large or small, at both short and long distances.
In addition, ICON Radar eliminates interference concerns experienced by today’s analog radar. Each digital radar has a quintillion (10 to the power of 18) unique codes embedded into the signal it transmits, helping minimize the negative effects of mutual interference. Effectively, no two radars in the world would have the same code.
The new radar helps address key industry challenges today and paves the road toward higher levels of autonomy in the future, claims Magna. In addition to vehicle and pedestrian detection, it can identify low-lying objects and open pathways on crowded, multi-lane roads.