Welcome to Thomas Insights — every day, we publish the latest news and analysis to keep our readers up to date on what’s happening in industry. Sign up here to get the day’s top stories delivered straight to your inbox.
Autonomous driving features have been gaining distinction over the years, but there is still a very large segment of the population who finds the prospect of driverless everything to be a little bit too far out of their comfort zone.
With this has come efforts on behalf of tech businesses to find ways of making hands-free systems safer, and in the case of autonomous driving, greater safety means more accuracy. One that’s made headlines recently is Spartan Radar, a startup out of southern California that recently netted $17 million in private funding from some major names in tech.
Spartan, founded by ex-defense industry engineers, offers a sensor software that’s designed to enhance the performance of even cheap radar units, enabling advanced driver assistance systems to improve resolution, response time, and range. And, of course, each boost to the device adds to its safety profile. According to Spartan, its software delivers higher resolution data to improve object detection for automated driving. The founders have used their expertise in military applications, one of whom has even honed his skills at Raytheon improving radar for fighter jets.
According to Forbes, though they’d once considered creating a unique hardware solution, the founders soon realized that the real opportunity was in software which can help make even affordable sensors track cars, trucks, and pedestrials as well as a 3D laser lidar.
Besides just price, the team cites functional drawbacks of current systems, noting that “inefficient” radar of today is looking as much in front of it as behind it — a view that may not be relevant for safety. And while future goals are to help keep sensor costs low in full self driving, there’s a big need now for the technology to be put to use in advanced driver-assist systems, augmenting safety for hands-free driving and automatic braking, which reportedly performs poorly above 40 miles per hour.
Perhaps these big benefits are what caught the attention of the latest round of investors, which includes the likes of Microsoft. Ultimately, Spartan has raised $42 million to date and says it plans to begin supplying its technology for passenger vehicles by 2025.
Image Credit: TIU