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This Israeli radar startup could get autonomous delivery drones off the ground
An Amazon Prime Air delivery drone. Amazon
An Israeli radar startup has developed technology that could prove to be fundamental in helping autonomous delivery drones to get off the ground.
Arbe Robotics, based in Tel Aviv, has built a radar system that combines hardware and software to allow autonomous drones to detect and avoid objects up to 1km away, up from 150 metres in the first iteration of its product.
Many of today's autonomous drones use cameras to try and detect objects that they could crash into, but these cameras can only see things up to 50 metres away and they're not always able to identify potential hazards .
"The main advantage of radar is that radar sees everything," said Kobi Marenko, the cofounder of Arbe Robotics, during an interview with Business Insider in Tel Aviv. "There’s nothing that doesn’t bring back the radar signal except the F35 (stealth aircraft).
"Our radar is good for full flight beyond visual line of sight," Marenko added. "We are detecting obstacles 50x per second which means that if there is an obstacle, we can detect it in 2 milliseconds, which is close to nothing."
Marenko highlighted that Arbe Robotics radar system could allow delivery drones or government surveillance drones to fly safely and autonomously. He claims that Arbe Robotics is the only company with a radar-based drone product on the market.
One company aggressively pursuing autonomous delivery drones is US tech giant Amazon. The company is currently testing a number of Prime Air delivery drones in a field in Cambridgeshire, which was identified by Business Insider in August.
If Amazon's tests prove successful, and delivery drones gets regulatory approval, then Amazon could have hundreds of thousands of drones whizzing through our skies in the not-so-distant future.