Problems We Solve Markets Radar Solutions Projects Why Navtech? Innovation Lab Support

Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI)

Oxford, England

World-leading research group, ORI, collaborates with Navtech on pioneering research to prove the capability of radar as an autonomous vehicle sensor. Able to operate in all-weathers and environments, it performs reliably whatever the condition.

Written 15+ papers
Included in 350 citations
In the top 30 cited articles for ICRA 2021

Reliable automation in adverse conditions.

The Oxford Robotics Institute (ORI) is a world-leading robotics research group. Pioneers in autonomous vehicle research, they were among the first to run an autonomous car over 10 years ago, before many thought it possible. Today, reliable automation in adverse conditions is a major challenge for autonomous vehicles, with traditional autonomous car sensors often unable to operate reliably in low visibility.

In response, ORI is dedicating a programme of work to research, what they see to be, the huge potential of radar as an enabling technology for automation and autonomy, with its all-weather sensing and ability to see beyond limits of human capability. The Navtech radar sensor detects reliably in rain, fog, dust, and dirt, and in all light conditions from complete darkness to strong sunlight, overcoming the limitations of other technologies like Lidar and cameras. It provides a 360° long-range, data-rich picture of its surroundings, like no other single sensor can.

However, the interpretation of imaging radar for autonomous vehicles is challenging. While image processing has seen years of investment, radar image processing has been largely overlooked. This is the challenge ORI is taking up in its cutting-edge research, in collaboration with Navtech.

“We are delighted to be working so closely with Navtech Radar – it speaks to the strength of the tech industry in Oxfordshire and the UK.”

“The partnership will accelerate the art of the possible in what machines can do with radar.”

Prof. Paul Newman
Director, ORI

Reliable data for autonomous vehicles, in all conditions

ORI chose the Navtech radar sensor as their key enabling technology to take forward their research.

The partnership brings together our high-resolution, 360° long-range radar technology with ORI’s impressive robotics research expertise. The research collaboration has proven the Navtech radar delivers reliable data in all weather and lighting conditions when used as an autonomous vehicle sensor.


Pushing the limits of localisation and perception

ORI’s pioneering research with the Navtech sensor shows radar can be used in demanding environments – on land and at sea – delivering the performance necessary to replace other technologies in challenging conditions. As autonomous vehicles are used in more applications where human operation is either undesirable or unsafe due to the environment, radar can provide the sensing data for reliable, safe operation.

Current research focuses on pushing the limits of localisation and perception, building the foundations of tomorrow’s autonomous systems. Research has included taking the radar to Iceland to test it in sub-zero temperatures and across rough terrain, as well as testing the radar’s operation against other autonomous vehicle sensors in the Oxford Radar RobotCar Dataset project. This unique dataset, incorporating different combinations of weather, traffic, and light levels, demonstrates the unrivalled availability of radar, where the performance of other technologies is significantly degraded.

Installation and commissioning images

Oxford Robotics Institute

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