WaveSense executive director Tarik Bolat announced that radars, lidars and cameras do not provide full-fledged safety of self-driving cars. In rain, snow and fog, sensors may not recognize road signs or markings and make mistakes when constructing a route. To solve this problem, he proposed to work the way through the maps of underground objects.
It is proposed to use georadars for orientation on the underground map. They are equipped with 12-element antenna arrays to transmit high-frequency magnetic pulses. Waves penetrate to a depth of three meters below the earth's surface and are reflected from underground objects: pipes, stones and tree roots. The received signals are checked against the underground WaveSense card and help the autopilot system to determine the location of the car.
The technology was developed at the Lincoln Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was intended for military equipment used in regions with bad roads without road signs.
The effectiveness of the system was proved in 2016. Georadar was installed on a sports truck, and in a snowstorm the car remained on its lane with an error of not more than 4 cm.
The head of WaveSense admitted that the technology is not capable of completely replacing radars, lidars and cameras. It is proposed to be used as an addition to existing sensors operating under conditions of poor visibility. With all its advantages, the WaveSense system is difficult to deploy, as each road needs individual scanning.