R4DAR Technologies, a tech start-up from Cambridige, UK, has secured funding from the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) in the Geospatial Transport Innovation Competition to study the feasibility of delivering a cutting-edge locational data solution for widescale use in shared transport networks, smart city and smart mobility applications. Its low-cost radar identification beacons were originally developed to enhance advanced driver assistance systems. Now, they will be used to augment the fidelity of geospatial data captured by urban traffic management and control (UTMC) systems, smart motorways and Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) technologies, regardless of the weather or light conditions.
The main shortcoming of existing traffic/pedestrian management solutions is their restricted object identification capabilities, particularly in low light or poor weather conditions caused by fog, snow and rain. This limitation poses significant safety concerns, especially for cyclists, pedestrians and e-scooter riders, who are not immediately visible to larger vehicles, in effect being a major barrier to the widescale adoption of healthier and greener modes of transport.
R4DAR’s unique solution overcomes these concerns by accurately communicating the location, identity and status of different road user types to vehicles or traffic management infrastructure equipped with radar. This is done through a simple data exchange between the radar and identification beacon mounted on a vehicle, bicycle, e-scooter or roadside infrastructure. The radar and beacon innovation works independent of existing comms infrastructure, making it suitable for rural as well as urban applications. Moreover, the system can distinguish different road-user types, such as cars, maintenance vehicles, roadside workers, etc, for accurate, real-time decision making.
“The project will allow us to assess the potential of using our low-cost and low maintenance radar and beacons to provide the high fidelity localised real-time geospatial data that will be essential for the safe operation of autonomous vehicles and smart infrastructure. I see this capability as a fundamental element to the wider-scale adoption of bicycles, e-scooters or walking as the preferred form of transport in complex shared transport environments,” said Clem Robertson, Founder and CEO of R4DAR.
Transport is one of nine key geospatial data opportunities, and Innovate UK and partners introduced a £2m Small Business Initiative Transport Location Data Competition to accelerate the development of novel technologies to overcome the limitations associated with current smart transport systems. R4DAR Technologies is one of the 28 competition winners chosen from a pool of 195 applications.