How We Gave Sight to the Mercedes Robotic Car

Radar is the key to Mercedes Benz’s autonomous car

9 min read
Illustration including a a standard S-Class Mercedes.
Illustrations: Andrew Zbihlyj

It is August 2013, and we are sitting in what looks like a standard S-Class Mercedes, nosing through traffic in a small town in southern Germany. The streets are narrow and jam-packed with cars, and pedestrians are everywhere. Yet nobody has a hand on the wheel, and nobody has a foot anywhere near the pedals. Still, you can’t fault the driving: This car is in charge of itself.

Or herself. We and our colleagues at Daimler call her Bertha, after the wife of Mercedes-Benz founder Karl Benz, who exactly 125 years earlier became the first joyrider in history when she took her two sons for a 100-kilometer jaunt in her husband’s car, from Mannheim to Pforzheim. When the leather brake pads wore out, she found a shoemaker. When the fuel ran out, she bought more from a pharmacist (who marketed it as a cleaning fluid).

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Before Ships Used GPS, There was the Fresnel Lens

This bright idea revolutionized lighthouses and saved lives

3 min read
 A Fresnel lens at the Seguin Island Light Station in Maine.

The Fresnel lens used in the Seguin Island Light Station in Georgetown, Maine.

Edwin Remsberg/AP

Ships today use satellite-based radio navigation, GPS, and other tools to prevent accidents. But back at the beginning of the 19th century, lighthouses guided ships away from rocky shores using an oil lamp placed between a concave mirror and a glass lens to produce a beam of light.

The mirrors were not very effective, though, and the lenses were murky. The light was difficult to see from a distance on a clear night, let alone in heavy fog or a storm.

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Researchers Develop Smaller Photonic Topological Insulator

A novel device covers a wider range of frequencies and could boost 5G, radar, and quantum computers

3 min read
Illustration shows a gold surface marked to show non-overlapping clock generator 12.5% duty cycle clocks and to the left 2GHz cock input. Rising from 4 sections each containing 4 triangles are 12 cylinders .

Conceptual diagram of the Floquet TI implemented in a 45 nm silicon-on-insulator CMOS process.

CUNY/Nature Electronics

Novel devices known as photonic topological electromagnetic circuits may one day support 5G wireless broadband networks and advanced radar systems, a new study finds.

Topology is the branch of mathematics that explores what features of shapes may survive deformation. For instance, an object shaped like a doughnut can be deformed into the shape of a mug, so that the doughnut’s hole forms the hole in the cup’s handle. However, the object couldn’t lose its hole without changing into a fundamentally different shape.

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Bridge the Gaps in Your ADAS Test Strategy

Full-scene emulation in the lab is key to developing robust radar sensors and algorithms needed to realize ADAS capabilities

1 min read
Keysight
Keysight

Achieving the next level in vehicle autonomy demands robust algorithms trained to interpret radar reflections from automotive radar sensors. Overcome the gaps between software simulation and roadway testing to train the ADAS / AV algorithms with real-world conditions. Sharpen your ADAS' radar vision with full-scene emulation that allows you to lab test complex real-world scenario, while emulating up to 512 objects at distances as close as 1.5 meters.

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