Novel and Inexpensive System for Vehicular Collision Avoidance

Physical Sciences : Automotive

Available for non-exclusive licensing


  • Robert Heath, Jr., Ph.D. , Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Robert Daniels , Electrical and Computer Engineering

Background/unmet need

 Vehicular RADARs have high device cost. They exploit large spectrum resources at millimeter-wave frequencies (24 GHz and 77 GHz) with tightly coupled analog circuits and advanced antenna configurations on expensive process technology which, up until now, has been necessary to overcome operational issues.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have created a new signal processing framework and associated system configuration for RADAR that exploits available IEEE.802.11 devices. This invention enables wireless communication devices to operate as radio detection and ranging (RADAR) devices with high-resolution performance. 


  • Order of magnitude cost reduction versus existing RADAR systems
  • Up to 7.5X higher accuracy in target range estimates compared to existing RADAR systems
  • 87% less bandwidth required as compared to existing RADAR systems
  • Security of signal as per standard IEEE.802.11 networks
  • Performs accurately in inclement weather, unlike existing RADAR systems


    The invention is an algorithm for manipulating WiFi signals to enable improved target sensing and tracking. 

Market potential/applications

 The majority of automobiles sold since 2012 have some level of active cruise control, collision avoidance, lane change sensing, or other technological enhancements utilizing RADAR systems. Statisa reports global passenger car sales are expected to be 73.9 million units in 2015.. Automotive suppliers will sell approximately $750B worth of parts and accessories into the market globally.

Development Stage

Proof of concept

IP Status

  • 1 U.S. patent application filed