Magna International claimed the launch of its Icon Radar in the Fisker Ocean next year would be the first application of digital radar for driver assisted technology.

The radar enhances a vehicle’s ability to ‘see’ its surroundings and detect potential dangers, from a stalled car in a dark tunnel to a pedestrian up to 150m away.

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“Digital radar dramatically improves performance over today’s analogue radar, bringing it to levels which have not yet been experienced in automotive applications,” said Magna technology chief Boris Shulkin.

Magna and Austin, Texas-based Uhnder jointly developed the technology which continuously scans its full environment in four dimensions, resulting in higher resolution and better contrast than analogue radar. Digital radar has the power to sense moving or standing objects, large or small, at both short and long distances.

It also eliminates interference concerns experienced by analogue radar. Each digital radar has a quintillion unique codes embedded into the signal it transmits, helping minimise the negative effects of mutual interference. Effectively, no two radars in the world would have the same code.

Magna said digital radar would result in higher levels of autonomy. In addition to vehicle and pedestrian detection, it can identify low-lying objects and open pathways on crowded, multi-lane roads.

Magna’s upcoming purchase of Veoneer, announced last week, will strengthen the company’s radar product line as Veoneer has 10 years of experience producing 40m radar sensors.