How Ground-Penetrating Radar Could Help Self-Driving Cars ‘See’ Better

WaveSense is one of those on the edge of the GPR trail, using a radar system designed to penetrate the ground and take measurements at centimeter-level accuracy. Its application for GPR was spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Lincoln Laboratory, where it was being developed to automate military vehicles. They quickly realized it filled the same gaps for commercial vehicles.

The company’s CEO and co-founder Tarik Bolat says precise localization in any type of dynamic environment (such as poorly-marked road surfaces, off-road terrain, and inclement weather) is going to change the direction of technology for ADAS. Ultimately, GPS, lidar, and cameras map the world around you and track to that, including buildings and other markings. Bolat says WaveSense takes that deeper, measuring routes, rocks, cavities, and soil about three meters into the ground.