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Google’s Ripple Could Bring Tiny Radars To Cars


Google is partnering with Ford with whom it already has a relationship for the use of the Android Automotive platform.

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Google has been dabbling with radars for 7 years now

Google has been building radars for a while. Remember the ill-fated Pixel 4 smartphone which came with the project soli radar that was used for an advanced face unlocking system? That phone was ill-fated as it couldn’t be launched in many countries like India where the 60Ghz mmWav frequency spectrum was not available for public use. In fact, even before 2019’s failure with the Soli radar, Google had been building miniature radar chipsets since 2015. And now, it has its latest effort which isn’t in hardware form but a software platform called Ripple which is fundamentally an application programming interface (API) that allows the use of this technology outside of Google’s device ecosystem. 

Notably, Google is partnering with Ford with whom it already has a relationship for the use of the Android Automotive platform. Ripple was showcased behind the scenes at CES. Ripple will unlock helpful innovation that benefits everyone. General-purpose radar is a key emerging technology for solving critical use cases in a privacy-respecting way,” said Ivan Poupyrev, who was part of Google’s ATAP unit that developed the Soli radar as well. 


Ford’S BlueCrusie system does use radars on the outside already 

Ripple’s libraries have been added to GitHub and is also a rebranding of its Standard Radar API. Soli’s technology could be theoretically repurposed inside a car where it provides privacy benefits – as it can detect whether someone is present, nearby, or telling a device to do something without the need of a microphone or camera. Ford which has joined Google on this initiative hasn’t revealed its plans but has revealed it is looking at an internal radar. 


“We are researching how to use interior radar as a sensor source to enhance various customer experiences beyond our leading Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist technologies that use advanced exterior radars today. A standard API, with semiconductor industry participation, will allow us to develop software independent of the hardware sourcing and give the software teams latitude to innovate across multiple radar platforms,” Jim Buczkowski, the head of Research and Advanced Engineering at Ford. 

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