Cognitive Pilot this week announced its Cognitive Mini Radar, which is designed for use in autonomous vehicles. The Moscow-based company suggested that its sensor could also be helpful for drones and robots being developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cognitive Pilot is an autonomous vehicle joint venture of state-owned PJSC Sberbank and Cognitive Technologies. The company has also created an open data set of images for autonomous agricultural equipment and is considering an initial public offering for 2023. It said development work on Cognitive Mini Radar is done, and the sensor “is in the pre-industrial stage of production preparation.”
‘We’re developing our own line of sensors for autonomous vehicles, and now we are happy to present our new unique radar designed for mass production,” stated Olga Uskova, CEO of Cognitive Pilot. “It’s very reasonably priced (several tens of dollars), miniature in size, and it’s designed for a very wide class of tasks.”
Cognitive Mini Radar specs
Cognitive Pilot began developing its Mini Radar in 2019, along with its other products for agricultural machinery and trains, said Andrey Zuev, a company spokesman. The intent of the new Mini Radar is to make a compact, affordable, and accessible model that can be embedded in other devices, he told The Robot Report.
The company’s existing 4D radar can detect objects at a distance of 300 meters in the range of azimuth angles greater than 90-100 degrees and elevation angles up to 15-20 degrees. The frequency band is 76 to 81 GHz. The Cognitive 4D Imaging Radar does the vertical scanning without the use of any mechanical elements.
The new Mini Radar is a fully functioning 3D sensor and is the length of a toothpick and weighs only 40g (1.4 oz.). One model operates between 77 and 81 GHz, and another at 60 to 64 GHz.
Mini Radar can provide accurate velocities, direction, and coordinates of road-scene objects in any weather conditions at any time of day or night, unlike some lidar, which is affected by sunlight or precipitation.
The sensor has an operating distance of up to 100m (328 ft.), and it can be powered by standard 12/24V onboard networks. The Cognitive Mini Radar also uses a number of CAN, LIN, and optional SPI interfaces.
“It easily integrates with any on-board equipment: computing unit, controller, etc.,” Uskova said. “You just need to turn it on and use it right away.”
Larger manufacturers of automotive sensors typically produce large volumes and face severe restrictions on functionality from major automakers, noted Cognitive Pilot. They don’t serve developers and others that need only a few dozen radar sensors per year, it added.
‘For this reason, many small and medium-size automotive players cannot easily purchase the needed sensors, nor rely on their functionality and technical support,” Uskova said. “And the number of startup companies in this sector shows that this is a dynamically developing and very promising market. We evaluate the potential volume in this area today at $1 billion, with a growth of about 15% to 20% per year.”
The Cognitive Mini Radar is primarily designed to monitor the space around a vehicle’s perimeter, said Cognitive Pilot. Along with other sensors, it can help cover blind spots and detect people and other vehicles while changing lanes, at intersections, and during parking.
Cognitive Pilot said its first customers include Russian transport organizations, international car manufacturers, and component OEM suppliers.
In addition, the Cognitive Mini Radar is small enough to be used in small unmanned aerial systems (sUASes) and robots, said the company. It could enable drones to avoid collisions and be useful for robotic deliveries and security.
“We’ve been contacted by some manufacturers of integral security systems regarding the use of our radar for restricting people’s access to certain areas, warning about approaching hazardous objects, and controlling the distance between people and other objects during the coronavirus epidemic,” Uskova said. “We already have preorders for solving these tasks from several clients in the U.S. and Europe. In the coming weeks, we plan to send them prototypes of our radar for testing.”