Quarterhill acquires Belgian radar detection company for integration into IRD subsidiary


Canadian diversified investment holding company Quarterhill Inc. has acquired the Belgian intelligent transportation systems (ITS) equipment provider iCOMS Detections SA, which will be integrated into Quarterhill’s wholly-owned subsidiary, International Road Dynamics Inc (IRD).

Quarterhill has completed the acquisition of all the issued and outstanding shares of iCOMS for €1m (US$1.1m) cash. Founded in 1993, iCOMS is based in Brussels and specializes in the design and manufacture of radar microwave detectors and equipment.

The company’s products and services are used to detect and count vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians in urban intersections, as speed measurement and warning systems, as traffic counting and data collection systems, and for intelligent lighting.

An innovative new radar product, I-COUNT, has recently been developed to collect speed, size and distance data for multi-lane applications. iCOMS’s customers are located throughout Europe and the UK. The company generated sales of approximately €1.6m (US$1.8m) for the 2016 calendar year.

iCOMS’ microwave radar detectors make use of the Doppler effect operating in the high frequency K-band (24.125GHz) to measure the speed and direction of moving objects. By using sophisticated algorithms and signal analysis techniques, iCOMS radar units can also measure the length of vehicles for classification purposes. 

The company’s portfolio comprises equipment for use in three main applications: intersection management (I-TERSECTION); speed warning systems (I-WARNING); and traffic data collection (I-COUNT). The range of products will now be incorporated into IRD’s extensive line-up of ITS products and advanced monitoring and measurement systems.

“The iCOMS management team has a reputation for innovation and longstanding customer relationships, and we are pleased to have them join IRD as part of this transaction,” said Terry Bergan, president and CEO of IRD.

“iCOMS provides us with an expanded and important presence in the rapidly growing European ITS market, and adds new and innovative radar products and services that we can now offer to our North American and other global customers.”

Shaun McEwan, interim CEO of Quarterhill, commented, “This tuck-in acquisition will enable IRD to expand their geographic footprint and create new revenue opportunities. IRD’s strategic plan calls for organic and acquisitive growth and ultimately, broader expansion into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) market. This transaction is a milestone on their path to achieve that growth potential.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).