Autonomous vehicles relying on light-based image sensors often struggle to see through conditions such as fog. MIT researchers have now developed a sub-terahertz-radiation receiving system that could help steer driverless cars when traditional methods fail.
Sub-terahertz wavelengths, which are between microwave and infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum, can be detected through fog and dust clouds with ease, whereas the infrared-based LiDAR imaging systems used in autonomous vehicles struggle.
To detect objects, a sub-terahertz imaging system sends an initial signal through a transmitter; a receiver then measures the absorption and reflection of the rebounding sub-terahertz wavelengths. That sends a signal to a processor that recreates an image of the object.