When a car commercial shows a picture of Heinrich Hertz, you know that microwaves have hit the mainstream. The new Mazda commercial starts by showing a picture of Hertz and proceeds to demonstrate their iActivsense safety system that uses radar and other sensors to prevent collisions. The scene is done to The Who song Teenage Wasteland. Hertz, radar and The Who - now that is a commercial!
Automated radar cruise control, collision avoidance radar and obstacle detection radar have been available on premium cars such as Mercedes and Audi for years but have only recently been available on more mainstream brands such as Ford, GM, etc. With the emphasis on safety and the price reduction in radar (and other optical based systems), these options are now available on many brands.
With EuMW 2013 coming up next week in Nuremberg, Germany, the heart of automotive technology, our September EuMW themed issue had 2 major articles discussing automotive radar. The cover feature by Holger H. Meinel and Juergen Dickmann of Daimler AG discusses the history of automotive radar including some nice photos of original proto-types from way back. The article also discusses future directions. The second article highlights the applications and benefits of 79 GHz, motivating a harmonized regulation for the 77 to 81 GHz band as a stable, permanent and globally harmonized frequency band for high resolution automotive radar equipment. These are great technical pieces covering the history and currents directions for the technology.
For those attending EuMW 2013, I will see you in Nuremberg. Zoom, zoom!