Automated & Connected

A scaled-up version of FRACTAL’s proprietary radar reflector. Photo: Business Wire

Fractal radar invention may overtake LIDAR

Fractal Antenna Systems, Inc. (FRACTAL) reports it has a new tracking and identification system to make road tags brighter to vehicular radar, possibly overtaking the use of LIDAR systems. FRACTAL has named the new system RDiD.

According to a release from FRACTAL, the new patented and patent pending technology utilizes a discovery made over a dozen years ago during its research on invisibility cloaks. While reducing the reflected “scattering” to a radar signal, FRACTAL found a way to make the reflections disappear and uncovered other unique fractal-based solutions that actually enhanced radar reflection. Such unusual reflectors are now called “superscatterers.”

Superscatterers are the puffer fish of electromagnetics, says FRACTAL: they have a radar signature or radar cross section (RCS) that is bigger than they really are. This RCS increase can be dramatic, in excess of 15 dB. Furthermore, the RCS increase can be tailored at multiple channels or bands with fractals, allowing the radar to interpret the brightened fractal superscatterers with a spectral signature, acting as an identifying “fractal license plate” on each, if desired, continues the release.

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Fractal superscatterers solve a problem for driverless cars because they can be tiny while bright to car radar. They can be installed in the roads, on signs, on barriers, and other vehicles. They can also be used with road reflectors (visible light), extending the utility of a safety device already employed, says the release.

Car-based radar can be dramatically more effective with the radar-bright fractal superscatterers, contends FRACTAL. In contrast, LIDAR based systems, with “car beanie" laser systems, no longer have an advantage over radar, and will eventually be antiquated. The expense, and detrimental appearance of car LIDAR will disappear on future driverless cars and roads, says the release.

Flying cars—scaled-up drones—will also benefit from the bright fractal superscatterers in the same way that driverless cars do, adds FRACTAL.

Click the link below to read more from FRACTAL.

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Mark Miller is a contributing writer to SAE International. He has worked as a technology writer and editor for IBM and other advanced information technology firms. His areas of concentration include artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, analytics and Internet of Things technologies.

Original Article