Military Embedded Systems

Automotive radar for autonomous eVTOL cars funded by USAF


January 07, 2021

Emma Helfrich

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

Automotive radar for autonomous eVTOL cars funded by USAF
Metawave photo.

CARLSBAD, Calif. Metawave Corporation has won a prime, Phase One contract by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) to provide a high-precision, all-weather sensing solution for electric Vertical Take-Off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

The initial Metawave study outlined by the contract will identify modifications needed for the company's existing SPEKTRA radar for aerial operations, all of which will be applied to development of next-generation eVTOL air-vehicles.

The USAF's AGILITY PRIME initiative seeks to advance the development of applicable technologies for operational, human-rated eVTOL aircraft by 2023. In addition to traditional aerospace companies, the Air Force is directly engaging with new sector entrants, such as Metawave.

Metawave's SPEKTRA is a compact analog antenna system that is designed to provide the automotive industry with high-precision radar capabilities. The current SPEKTRA analog radar design is intended to enable critical features for next-generation cars. The rugged sensor system will aim to enable precision eVTOL navigation and obstacle avoidance in all-weather conditions.

As part of this Phase One effort, Metawave, in partnership with the Arizona State University Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures, will modify the SPEKTRA radar for longer ranges and navigation in three-dimensional space.

According to the company, following the completion of Phase One, Metawave will apply for a Phase Two contract to bring operational radar hardware to USAF personnel. 


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