Oxford-based tech firms to develop integrated radar-based navigation and perception system

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Two major UK technology companies, both based in Oxfordshire, Oxbotica and Navtech Radar, have announced their joint product development of a radar-based navigation and perception system to be launched in 2020.

Founded in 2014 as an Oxford University spin-out, Oxbotica is a global leader in autonomous vehicle software, which is aiming to develop multi-industry autonomy software that will work with any vehicle, any time, and in any place, under its ‘Universal Autonomy’ concept. The company’s autonomous driving software has been deployed in many different environments including cities, mines, airports, quarries and ports, enabling any vehicle to drive itself with total freedom from external infrastructure dependency. Oxbotica’s current flagship product is its Selenium full stack autonomy system that has been used in numerous automated driving projects in the UK and worldwide.

Navtech is a world-leading innovator, award-winning designer and manufacturer of commercially deployed radar systems that are used across multiple industry sectors, including security surveillance, industrial automation, and ITS and traffic safety. The company manufactures a unique range of sensors that provide the performance to deliver on the promise of all-weather sensing in real-world mission-critical applications. Its industrial grade sensors provide high-resolution imaging in all weather, lighting and environmental conditions, overcoming some of the fundamental limitations of laser and camera solutions.

The new product represents the latest advancement in radar-based technology and the partnership marks an important milestone in Oxbotica’s plans to take its software from development towards full-scale commercial deployment. The multi-module localisation system (radar, vision and laser) allows customers to deploy autonomy in both on-road and off-road locations, whether in mines, ports or airports and whatever the weather conditions where standard GPS or lidar is not possible. The Oxbotica and Navtech product will not be reliant on any external infrastructure and can operate on its own or be fused with other location services driven by GPS, lidar or laser vision as part of Oxbotica’s modular and integrated approach.

Oxbotica has already successfully tested its proprietary algorithms in a variety of environments and conditions as part of its Localisation module development and wider full-stack autonomy solution. This will be twinned with Navtech’s expertise in bringing autonomy sensors to market around the world.

“This collaboration with Navtech is a key milestone in bringing autonomy especially to off-road domains such as mines, ports, or airports where existing lidar or GPS may not function effectively due to weather or operating conditions such as dust, rain, or snow,” said Ozgur Tohumcu, Oxbotica’s CEO. “Navtech is a fantastic partner with their unbeatable track record of producing autonomy sensors, powering off-road autonomy around the world for nearly two decades. Incoming demand from customers and our own market research prove that there will be wide applications of this product addressing both on-road and off-road deployments.

Navtech’s CEO, Phil Avery, said, “We are delighted to be working with Oxbotica on this project. Despite the potential of radar, very few companies have successfully developed the necessary algorithms to use it properly. Oxbotica are world leaders in this area and together with our high-performance radars sensors, we believe the resulting system will deliver a step change in the performance available for all-weather all environment localisation and perception. This is crucial for automation in more challenging environments such as mines and ports.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.

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