Australian technology company Cohda Wireless has received a $2.2 million government grant to test its radar system on public roads.
The grant from the South Australian Government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund will enable Cohda to test the technology on the streets of Adelaide by purchasing two autonomous cars to fit out with Cohda’s radar system.
The cars will contain the V2X-Radar developed by Cohda, which will allow them to detect buildings, road signs and older vehicles not equipped with car-to-car communications.
Previously, the V2X-Radar was trialled on a closed road on the outskirts of Adelaide. This test, however, will occur in the CBD and other urban roads, which will remain open.
Cohda’s system is a first in that it can ‘see’ around corners thanks to its radar technology, and is unaffected by rain, fog or snow.
Approval for the trial comes after South Australia became the first state to introduce laws allows for trials of AVs on open public roads.
Cohda CEO Paul Gray said South Australia was an ideal base for its company, as the new law meant the technology could be tested in real-world situations once it was developed.
“The sensor suites in autonomous vehicles today are still not perfect, and there are still some issues,” he said.
“We basically developed a range of applications that improve CAV (Connected Autonomous Vehicles) localisation and CAV sensor fidelity. It also reduces the cost, because it uses existing infrastructure, and we simply put in additional software to create greater accuracy,” he added.
Gray said Cohda’s technology could be programmed into AVs to increase sensor capabilities, potentially reducing the overall cost.
The V2X-Radar uses wireless signals of current V2X systems to share sensor information between vehicles and infrastructure.
These radio signals bounce off walls, road signs and other vehicles as they travel from transmitter to receiver, and the V2X-Radar can use these radio waves to identify objects within that environment, including non-V2X equipped vehicles.
The radar technology, combined with a 3D map, can provide highly accurate positioning and can instantly detect vehicle speeds.
“Imagine driving down a row of park cars with a pedestrian standing in between two of them, about to head into traffic,” Gray said.
“This scenario is something that cameras, radars and LIDARs have problems picking up. This government fund would help to improve that, branching from technology that turns Wi-Fi into a form of radar.”
Gray hopes the trials would begin in the coming months, pending the official allocation of the grant.