Satellite Internet brings cars closer to full autonomySeptember 9, 2020
New antenna technology opens up a world of possibilities for modern unmanned vehicles.
For those who have spent a lot of time on the road battling dodgy Wi-Fi and watching connectivity lights disappear and web page response times out, it will be interesting to know about the revolutionary new satellite dish that promises to deliver reliable, ubiquitous data transmission. to any moving object – airplanes, trains and cars – practically anywhere on Earth.
Streaming Netflix in any mode of transport will provide a reliable satellite internet connection in your vehicle and will underpin today’s cellular connectivity between vehicles and all objects, bringing complete vehicle autonomy one step closer to reality.
Satellite dishes for cars are not new, but the systems previously presented were difficult to implement in the transport sector, because they were either too cumbersome or too expensive, or lost their image under each bridge or interfered with other road users.
NXTCOMM is commercializing “fragmented aperture technology” by leveraging the power of modern supercomputers to strategically organize individual antenna elements so that “disruptive” interference becomes “constructive” instead. These smart computers can also help make antenna arrays fit curved surfaces, such as the fuselage of an airplane or the roof of a car.
The NXTCOMM antenna is a large PCB, roughly a quarter inch thick, so its form factor is much more efficient and the number of parts can be reduced by 20-40% compared to competitors. Without having to deal with the problem of destructive interference, power consumption is more than halved compared to traditional phased array design.
With a wide frequency range from 300 MHz to 30 GHz, one new NXTCOMM antenna can be designed to work with GPS, satellite radio and cellular as well as satellite Internet / video in the transport sector. Since most of the above is for reception only, the antenna design can be somewhat simplified if necessary.
Currently, this technology costs about $ 100 for automakers more than a shark fin antenna, so production will start with fleets and luxury customers who are willing to pay more for high-speed uninterrupted connection. then economies of scale will make antennas more affordable.
In addition, fully autonomous driving must rely to some extent on communication between vehicles and infrastructure (V2V and V2X). In a large country, there is no predictable way to guarantee universal connectivity to terrestrial cell towers. If we rely on satellites to keep in touch with our autonomous vehicle, they do better than the Wi-Fi we are used to. The new NXTCOMM antenna promises just that.
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