Car manufacturers are queuing up to meet the Melbourne makers of the world’s smallest and cheapest automotive radar system.
The Radar on a Chip (ROACH) detects and tracks objects around the car. It’s part of an active safety system that can warn drivers about possible collisions and, if necessary, integrate with braking, steering, seatbelt and airbag systems to avoid, or minimise the consequences of, an accident.
ROACH project manager Dr Mandy Li says the University of Melbourne/NICTA Victoria Research Lab team impressed car makers with their innovative solution at an automotive conference in Sweden in May 2012.
Luxury cars already have radar fitted to detect approaching objects, but existing systems cost about $1000. ROACH’s advanced technology brings the cost down to less than $50, suitable for the mass market.
The other key advantage of ROACH is that it’s small—the size of a postage stamp and only 1 cm thick—while other radar systems are about the size of your palm.
It’s a headache for car designers to integrate a larger system into the bumper of the car. “If we can make it cheaper and smaller, car makers can put more radar units around the car to create a 360 degree protection zone,” Mandy says.
After the success of this first working prototype, the team hopes to have a second prototype late in 2012.
This project is supported by a $1.77 million collaborative science and innovation grant from the Victorian Government.
Photo: The CMOS chip at the heart of ROACH.
Credit: Luan Ismahil, NICTA
Victorian Department of Business and Innovation, www.business.vic.gov.au/innovation
National ICT Australia (Victoria Research Lab), University of Melbourne, Mandy Li, Tel: +61 3 8344 0372, firstname.lastname@example.org, tinyurl.com/9dmcqta