Uhnder and Spartan to Partner on Hi-rez Radar

New partnership will combine Spartan’s sensor software with Uhnder’s digital radar technology to create perception solutions to advance automated mobility.

Magna’s high-resolution Icon radar solution relies on Uhnder radar-on-chip (RoC) technology. (Magna)

Two new players on the hardware and software side of advanced high-resolution automotive radars have announced a partnership. Austin, Texas-based Uhnder, which lays claim to the first digital automotive radar-on-chip (RoC) hardware solution, and L.A.-based sensor software specialist Spartan will partner on all-weather sensor solutions for ADAS and automated vehicles.

In announcing the partnership, the companies claim the combination of Uhnder’s CMOS- and DCM-based imaging radar with Spartan’s proprietary biomimetic software algorithms – which leverage machine learning and edge-processing to instantly shift obstacle focus – will increase sensor resolution and contrast to help differentiate closely spaced objects. The companies claim the combined Uhnder/Spartan solution can detect objects such as abandoned tires or construction debris at more than 200 meters (656 ft.), a distance considered necessary for tractor trailers moving at highway speeds to come to a full stop.

“The transition from legacy analog radar to breakthrough digital radar is a critical step to improving ADAS systems,” said Uhnder CEO and co-founder Manju Hegde. He noted that the partnership with Spartan bolsters the capabilities of its radar sensor solution that will increase safety for automated vehicles. Though no specific applications have been announced, Eric Fuller, the president and CEO of truckload carrier U.S. Xpress, was quoted in the joint Spartan/Uhnder release.

“In the coming years as the ADAS market continues to improve and autonomous trucks begin to scale, we’ll need technologies that combine lidar-like resolution with sensor ruggedization,” Fuller said. “We’re looking for solutions that will handle the harsh real-world conditions of an autonomous truck driving hundreds of thousands of miles per year. We expect the Uhnder-Spartan partnership to deliver this performance.”

Spartan CEO and co-founder Nathan Mintz described the partnership as accelerating the delivery of sensing solutions that ultimately can save lives: “Uhnder’s advanced radar technology combined with Spartan’s software allows customers to create solutions that focus on what matters for safety, like discerning a car from a lane-splitting motorcycle or a bicyclist from a nearby guard rail.”

Uhnder already lists global Tier-1 supplier Magna as an RoC customer. Magna announced in January 2018 that it is leveraging Uhnder’s digital radar tech in its high-definition Icon radar solution, which is expected in its Ocean SUV  and demoed for media in Jeep prototypes. Magna claims a range of nearly 300 meters (984 ft.) for Icon, providing “ultra-fine detection” along with improved interference tolerance over traditional radars.