Hyundai's corporate venturing and open innovation business Hyundai Cradle, is to invest in Metawave Corporation to build intelligent radars for autonomous vehicles.

Metawave is leveraging adaptive metamaterials (conventional materials using engineered structures with electromagnetic properties not found in nature) and artificial intelligence (AI) to create smart radars. Hyundai is evaluating new technologies, such as Metawave's radar capable of 3-D imaging, for future autonomous platforms.

"Next-generation radar technology can use advanced algorithms for object detection and classification," said Hyundai Cradle VP, John Suh. "A new radar system that can increase resolution and accuracy with an AI engine will be a disruptive technology."

Three sensors are the fundamental components of the perception system for self-driving cars today: camera, lidar and radar. The camera is the highest-resolution sensor but cannot see objects beyond 50 metres. Lidar extends the range to around 150 metres, with a fairly high-resolution imaging capability.

Both camera and Lidar are affected by bad weather and dirty roads. Radar, by its nature, operates at a lower frequency and 'sees' objects at long ranges faster and in all weather and driving conditions. Today's radar cannot cover wide angles at long ranges and lacks the resolution to differentiate between objects. It needs a large number of antennae and expensive chips to run the complex digital signals. This type of system takes time and energy, making it inefficient.

Metawave's radar platform, Warlord uses just one antenna and pushes the complexity of the analog space, using ultra-fast and precise responses. With Warlord, the antenna itself shapes and steers the beam in all directions using pencil beams, deep learning engines and AI algorithms to recognise objects quickly and send 4-D point cloud to the sensor fusion.

"The investment by Hyundai represents another key company milestone and further proof of our rapid momentum as we bring Warlord long-range radar with imaging and AI capabilities to autonomous vehicles," said Metawave CEO, Maha Achour. "With our team of mm-wave and metamaterial experts, we were the first to demonstrate Electronically Scanned Metamaterial Array for Autonomous Driving at 77GHz. This technology will be an enabling factor for Hyundai and other auto leaders who are striving to improve the vehicle experience."

Hyundai Autonomous Vehicle Development:
In January, Hyundai Motor Company and Aurora announced a partnership to bring self-driving Hyundai vehicles to market by 2021. This partnership will incorporate Aurora's self-driving technology into Hyundai vehicles, starting with models custom-developed and launched in test programmes and pilot cities.

In February, a fleet of Hyundai Nexo fuel cell electric SUVs successfully completed a self-driven 190km journey from Seoul to Pyeongchang. The Nexos were equipped with level 4 self-driving technology, as defined by SAE international standards, and 5G network technology.

These Nexos featured a number of advanced technologies that enabled them to recognise surrounding vehicles more accurately and make better judgements at junctions and at branching roads, navigate through toll gates by accurately calculating the toll gates' width and position and precisely pinpoint the vehicle's position on a map by using external sensors fitted for situations when the GPS signal was interrupted, such as going through long underground tunnels.