U.S. Air Force Funds Adaptation of Automotive Radar for Autonomous “Flying Cars”

posted on 7th January 2021 by Eddie Saunders
U.S. Air Force Funds Adaptation of Automotive Radar for Autonomous "Flying Cars"

The Washington, DC-based start-up company Rhea Space Activity (RSA) worked with Metawave to develop the SPEKTRA concept as a parallel application for its well-established commercial automotive uses. RSA identified SPEKTRA’s two-dimensional (2D) solid-state beamsteering and all-weather operational capabilities as uniquely suited to solve several problems related to providing eVTOL aircraft with reliable situational awareness.

With SPEKTRA nearing commercial operation, RSA suggested AGILITY PRIME as a good fit for further development of the radar system’s capabilities.

Shawn Usman, astrophysicist and Founder of RSA, said that adaptation of driverless car technologies could be used for a variety of national security applications.

“Rapid technological innovation in the U.S. driverless car sector is also demonstrating remarkable compatibility with the high-performance requirements of many Department of Defense missions,” Usman said. “SPEKTRA in particular is versatile enough to support unmanned VTOL operations as well as fixed-wing flight. By guiding small yet highly innovative companies like Metawave through the complexities of programs such as AFWERX, RSA plays a crucial cooperative role in developing core technologies, like SPEKTRA, to push the boundaries of current consumer-facing innovations, while helping to solve critical national security issues.”

Following the completion of Phase One, Metawave will apply for a Phase Two contract to bring operational radar hardware to USAF personnel. The Phase Two effort will include a series of field tests of the proposed design array under a variety of varied situations and environments.