Sub-THz chip could help driverless cars 'see' through fog, dust: Page 2 of 2

February 15, 2019 //By Julien Happich
Sub-THz chip could help driverless cars 'see' through fog, dust
Researchers at MIT have leveraged the unique propagation properties of sub-terahertz wavelengths to design a sensor chip able to detect objects hidden by fog or dust.

The key to the design is what the researchers call “decentralization.” In this design, a single pixel — called a “heterodyne” pixel — generates the frequency beat (the frequency difference between two incoming sub-terahertz signals) and the “local oscillation,” an electrical signal that changes the frequency of an input frequency. This “down-mixing” process produces a signal in the megahertz range that can be easily interpreted by a baseband processor.

The output signal can be used to calculate the distance of objects, similar to how LiDAR calculates the time it takes a laser to hit an object and rebound. In addition, combining the output signals of an array of pixels, and steering the pixels in a certain direction, can enable high-resolution images of a scene. This allows for not only the detection but also the recognition of objects, which is critical in autonomous vehicles and robots.      

MIT – www.mit.edu


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