Panasonic Advances Automotive Millimeter-Wave Radar Technology to Detect Pedestrians and Vehicles in Low Visibility Conditions

OSAKA, Japan--()--Panasonic Corporation today announced it has developed an advanced radar technology for next-generation traffic safety systems that enables to detect humans and vehicles in a range of several tens of meters. This millimeter-wave radar technology allows for detecting objects outdoors in poor visibility conditions, such as night, rain and snow, as well as against the sunlight. When applied in traffic surveillance sensors located at intersections, this innovative technology will help increase automotive safety by detecting pedestrians and bicycles hidden in the driver's blind spots.

As accidents at intersections account for about a half of all traffic fatalities, preventive measures are required to avoid collisions there involving cars, pedestrians and cyclists. Panasonic's new radar technology enables traffic monitoring sensors at intersections to detect pedestrians and bicycles up to 40 meters ahead even at nighttime and under bad weather conditions that hinder the driver's visibility. By alerting the driver of the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk or bicycles in blind spots, this technology helps to reduce the driver's burden and traffic accidents.

Panasonic's new automotive radar technology has overcome the difficulties with conventional millimeter-wave radar technologies; the advanced radar technology is capable of detecting humans and cars simultaneously in spite of the fact that human body reflects extremely weak radar signals compared with car body. This innovative radar technology has also achieved high detection performance with a range resolution of less than 50cm and an angular resolution of 5 degrees, which enables to detect pedestrians and vehicles. Furthermore, unlike optical and infrared cameras and laser sensors, whose detection performance can be significantly affected by visibility conditions, this new radar technology will not be subject to such conditions as nighttime, rain, snow or dense fog.

Panasonic has developed and incorporated the following new element technologies to realize the new millimeter-wave radar technology for automotive applications:

1)  

Coded pulse modulation technique that employs a newly designed code sequence for pulse radar method to improve sensitivity characteristics, thereby achieving extension of the detection range and finding out small objects that have weak radar reflection.

 
2)

Adaptive antenna technique that combines radar beamforming transmission and adaptive array antenna reception with signal processing algorism for estimation of target direction, thereby achieving high angle resolution even with a smaller antenna compared with conventional one.

With regard to millimeter-wave radars, there presently exist radars for vehicle to measure distance to the vehicle in front. However, these radars cannot detect human body with high resolution due to very weak radar reflection of human body. In addition, an optical camera is commonly used as a traffic surveillance sensor. However, it cannot work well under certain conditions such as nighttime because it can provide almost the same information as the human eye can capture.

Panasonic has achieved the new radar technology as part of the "Research and Development Project for Expansion of Radio Spectrum Resources" supported by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications of Japan. The company will demonstrate the technology at VTC (Vehicular Technology Conference) 2012-Spring (May 7 to 9 in Yokohama, Japan), using a test equipment with an experimental radio license.

On the new radar technology, Panasonic holds eighteen patents in Japan and six patents overseas including pending applications.

About Panasonic

Panasonic Corporation is a worldwide leader in the development and manufacture of electronic products for a wide range of consumer, business, and industrial needs. Based in Osaka, Japan, the company recorded consolidated net sales of 8.69 trillion yen (US$105 billion) for the year ended March 31, 2011. The company's shares are listed on the Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and New York (NYSE:PC) stock exchanges. For more information on the company and the Panasonic brand, visit the company's website at http://panasonic.net/.

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Contacts

Media Contacts:
Global Public Relations Office
Panasonic Corporation
Tel: +81-3-6403-3040 Fax: +81-3-3436-6766
Panasonic News Bureau
Tel: +81-3-3542-6205 Fax: +81-3-3542-9018

Release Summary

By alerting the driver of the presence of pedestrians in the crosswalk or bikes in blind spots, this advanced radar technology helps reduce the driver's burden and traffic accidents at intersection.

Contacts

Media Contacts:
Global Public Relations Office
Panasonic Corporation
Tel: +81-3-6403-3040 Fax: +81-3-3436-6766
Panasonic News Bureau
Tel: +81-3-3542-6205 Fax: +81-3-3542-9018