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Why not Deploy Phased Array Radars on cars @elonmusk?

Updated: Jun 13, 2022

“Yes. Everything is slow to a phased array antenna” @elonmusk when asked about “..Will Starlink dishes be deployable on high-speed moving objects like trains.” @antonkanerva

Why not deploy phased array Radars on cars? Why not integrate smarter, cheaper, smaller, and faster Phased Array radars in a way similar to assembling “Lego” blocks using beamforming + steering Antenna in Package (AiP) blocks, enabling superior and more flexible radar architectures? Radar is considered a critical and required sensor for deploying highly automated and autonomous driving, as radar can provide long range sensing using focused transmit power for all-weather, safe, and reliable operation. However, these new applications will also require a wide field of view and high resolution imaging. To achieve this level of performance a front-end analog beam-former is a MUST. Metawave has been working hard to solve this market challenge, by developing innovative technologies to make driving safer and more reliable, even in the most dense conditions. Welcome to Metawave! Did you know that Metawave has been FIRST to demonstrate:

  • Analog beam-steering phased array 77GHz radar for automotive (SPEKTRA)

  • Multi-channel beam-former chip (MARCONI)

  • Real-time object classification AI for radars (AWARE) – Metawave is paving the way to the automotive radar of the future.

Higher safety with the most accurate and intelligent automotive radar A year earlier, Metawave had already successfully demonstrated the industry’s first, award-winning, SPEKTRA™ analog beam-steering radar, leveraging in-house designed, “first in industry” discrete 77GHz analog phase-shifters. SPEKTRA radar delivers the most accurate and intelligent automotive radar available today, which is able to clearly and consistently detect vehicles beyond 300 meters and pedestrians beyond 200 meters with the highest angular resolution and accuracies at these long ranges. Metawave has since expanded the SPEKTRA capability using our recently developed, highly integrated 16-channel analog beamformer chip to enable calibrated phased array front-end solutions when used with a single, conventional Frequency-Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) transceiver chip developed by Texas Instruments (TI). Metawave has filed for more than 250 patents with over 20 issued and allowed to date. Higher precision for higher safety At the heart of SPEKTRA radar is Metawave’s MARCONI™ analog beamformer chip for phased array radar applications at 77 GHz, which, when used with Metawave’s proprietary calibration system, enables steering of transmit and receive beams in precise steps over a targeted field-of-view and up to long range. The MARCONI antenna in package’s (AiP’s) ability to steer a focused, high-gain beam while running advanced Virtual MIMO Array algorithms gives SPEKTRA radar-based platforms an significant edge over conventional, purely digital radars. Also referred to as “radar on a chip,” conventional radars use wider, lower gain beams and fundamentally cannot achieve the same effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP) and range performance as SPEKTRA. The AiP module follows a recent trend in commercial mmWave products, especially in the wireless cellular market, to assemble and package the Marconi chips with the AiP– therefore, creating a higher level of integration and increasing performance due to fully calibrated modular building blocks that can be configured into antenna arrays for driving virtual MIMO array algorithms. These building blocks can be used in various geometries and topologies to develop application-specific radar modules for multi-functional uses. AI for higher accuracy, even in the most dense and complex driving conditions In early 2021, Metawave also demonstrated its proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) AWARE™ platform that enables SPEKTRA radars to perform real-time object classification and labeling for more efficient and faster Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) processing, with over 94% labeling accuracy. Because of its machine-learning sensor fusion, the AWARE platform enables SPEKTRA radar to deliver accuracy in storms, darkness, and dense fog, even as vehicles travel at highway speeds. SPEKTRA radar’s ability to detect and classify objects beyond 300 meters is due to its unique ability to focus its beams along a specific field of view (FoV) direction and simultaneously achieve fast frame rates when combined with our virtual MIMO array techniques. Traditional radars use four or more transceiver chips for digital beamforming and ‘flash’ a wide FoV with unfocused low EIRP beams, limiting range and preventing the radar’s ability to accurately distinguish between objects that are close in proximity. Metawave’s SPEKTRA radar and AWARE platform videos can be viewed on the company’s YouTube channel.


Metawave PR Contact:

Mariya Finkelshteyn

About Metawave Corporation - Metawave SPEKTRA™ radar is the first automotive analog beamsteering radar capable of distinguishing between objects that are close to each other, in difficult driving scenarios and in all-weather conditions, making cars safer and smarter. Metawave TURBO™ active repeaters and KLONE™ passive reflectors enable faster, more efficient, and lower cost 5G deployments, bringing connectivity to billions of users both indoors and out. Metawave's AWARE™AI object classification platform is the first demonstration of real-time radar object classification. Founded in 2017, Metawave is headquartered in in Carlsbad and Palo Alto, CA. Visit us at, email us at, and follow us on Twitter @metawavecorp, LinkedIn, and YouTube.

Metawave, the Metawave logo, and all Metawave product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of Metawave in the U.S. and other countries. The company names, product names, system names, etc. described in this article are registered trademarks and trademarks of each company and each organization.

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