By: Vanessa Kimanga, 3/18/2015
Echodyne Aims for Self-Driving Cars with Radar Technologies
Echodyne, a start-up company backed by investors Bill Gates and Paul Allen, is located just off State Route 520 Bellevue. They are developing radars suitable for drones, robots and self-driving cars; this technology could allow vehicles to operate independently in a variety of conditions.
The company’s current goal is to improve radar systems with regards to cost, size and performance by using sub-wave length geometric configurations of metal. CEO and founder Eben Frankenburg stated “We have this concept of radar vision, where you’re actually using radar as a vision system for autonomous and unmanned vehicles as opposed to an exotic military-grade only sensor”
Echodyne hopes to market its technology to the government and military. However with the co-founders Echodyne has, they will be able to serve commercial businesses. Last year Echodyne received $15 million in funding from Gates, Madrona Venture group, Vulcan capital and other companies.
Echodyne hasn’t launched any true product but Tom Driscoll, Co-founder, clarified that they aren’t squandering time or materials. Prototypes show a 2.6pound quad copter, is capable of lifting over six pounds. Echodyne also modified flight controls allowing drones to autonomously follow a target. “We gave a tiny quad copter with the ability to see and image the world around it with radar” says Co-founder Driscoll.
Echodyne is the most recent company to spin out if Intellectual Ventures, a patent licensing invention business co-founded by Microsoft chief technology officer Nathan Myhrvold.