To really understand the nitty gritty of what Atlanta-based startup SoloPulse is building, you need a lesson in quantum physics. Don’t worry…no big science lecture here.
But to understand why SoloPulse’s technology is so powerful, we can start with a quick history lesson.
“Radar was originally developed to track big things far away,” said SoloPulse’s co-founder Dr. Michael McKinney. “And a lot of the underlying mathematics is still rooted back in the ‘40s,” when it was used to track planes and enemy warships.
Traditional radar technology struggles with resolution and speed. Those two things make it difficult for the technology to detect smaller objects that might appear on roadways. That is a big problem, given the fact that radar is a key part of the automotive and transportation industries.
SoloPulse is revisiting the underlying math that makes radar possible. In doing so, the technology can detect not only large things at far distances away, but now enable radar to detect small to large objects at all ranges simultaneously.
The team uses an analogy to describe the power of their product. Traditional radar is equivalent to someone walking into a dark room and scanning it with a single flashlight. SoloPulse illuminates the entire room, akin to turning on all the lights at the same time.
The team told Hypepotamus that SoloPulse’s new approach to radar allows for 10x better resolution and 1,000x speed when compared to technologies available today.
Those results are impressive enough for an early-stage startup. But what the team is even more excited about is the fact that they’ve found a way to deliver this improved radar technology through just a firmware update. There is no need to fully replace existing radar systems, making it a more cost-effective solution.
Meet the team
Co-founders Dr. Allyson McKinney, Dr. Michael McKinney, and Victoria Rische officially incorporated the startup last summer, though McKinney has been working on the idea since 2017 when she was introduced to the technology while pursuing her advanced degrees at Georgia Tech.
She received early internal funding while at GTRI which led to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) funding to see if the new radar technology had real-world applications. She also went through Georgia Tech’s Female Founders program and is a fellow of the Activate Anywhere cohort which has enabled her to get the product off the ground.
Deploying The Technology
The SoloPulse team sees their technology having an immediate impact on the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) world. That includes automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, parking assistance, and driver drowsiness detection features already found in many cars on the road today.
SoloPulse’s potential use cases span wide across the automotive world of trucks, robots, and cars, says Victoria Rische, who serves as the company’s COO. She added that SoloPulse could impact everything from surveillance and defense to smart home devices down the road.
Though the team is young, it has been connected with many parts of the Atlanta technology ecosystem already as it works to prove out its product. The team is part of ATDC and is planning on testing out of the Curiosity Lab in Peachtree Corners.
CEO Dr. Allyson McKinney said that she has already had really “good positive learning [experiences] with the investor community [in town]. Even though we are software, we’re not traditional SaaS. The market entry is going to look very different and the customers that we sell to will look very different. Having discussions and learning where we sit and this whole investment ecosystem has been really positive.”
That will be particularly important as the team looks to close its first round of institutional funding later this summer.