Let's Face It: Highway Radar is the future and it's time to step away from obnoxious 1980s radar detectors

RadarNodar

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Okay so this might be a bit of a polarizing opinion but hear me out. I love what @ferius has done to develop the Highway Radar app along with how passionate @ferius is about feedback and improving the app.

I’m also greatly appreciative of all the work @Vortex is doing to research all the radar options and keep us informed. In fact, it is thanks to @Vortex that I’m here, as I found out about the existence of the Highway Radar app thanks to his video about radar detectors for long trips.

I’d love to see @Vortex discuss my idea below in a video and what he feels about it and hear what @ferious has to say about the feasibility of implementing my idea below.

This is the first time in my life that I’ve considered getting a radar detector, so I’m approaching this from a different perspective than all the experts who’ve been using radar detectors for a while. I’ve reached the conclusion that the era of 1980s era radar detectors must end.

What I Dislike About Radar Detectors
  • Think of how little has changed about the interface of radar detectors for the lats 40 years. We can do so much better than a Christmas tree of lights and a bird’s nest of never-ending chirps crying out like a child in need of constant attention!
  • What do we really need? We need to visually see which radar bands are detected, their strength and be alerted to the presence of radar in the least disruptive way possible and then to visually give updates and just STFU. Basically a programmable audio alert for when radar is detected along with another programmable alert giving an “all clear” after you pass the threat.
  • The current radar detectors chirping away for a mile or more is crazy disruptive. I understand why they had to do this in the 1980s when we didn’t have LCD displays.
  • Basically, you should be able to get the alerts without interrupting a conversation in the car or disrupting listening to music in the car. The app can get your attention and then STFU while keeping you updated visually without chirping the hell out of your ears and disrupting you and stressing your passengers with obnoxious tones for a mile or more.
The Future Is the Highway Radar App Combined with Bluetooth Sensors

The Highway Radar app is the future when combined with a small 12V Bluetooth based radar sensor for the front and another one for the rear.

Ideal Bluetooth Sensor
  • My ideal Bluetooth Sensor will be as small as possible. Preferably around 4” X 2” or smaller with a depth of no more than 2 inches. The same sensor or another sensor can handle laser as well, along with possibly also handling jamming/laser shifting (jamming can be turned off from the app as soon as you reduce your speed).
  • Design the radar/laser sensor so it can be used as a “parking sensor,” so that if “anyone” asks, if you have a radar detector, you can say why yes, I have a parking sensor.
  • Matte black in color so it is nondescript and inconspicuous.
  • Picks up radar (super long range) from the front and the sides.
  • Can be affixed with a suction mount or with adhesive. The benefit of a suction mount is you can easily take it with you. Imagine having two of these sensors (one for the front and other for the rear) that you can just get in a rental car (or second or third car) and in 15 seconds you can mount one up front and one in the rear and you have 360 degree radar coverage. This way even if you have 3 cars, you just need to buy two sensors.
  • You no longer need to buy a $500 radar detector whenever sensing technology improves. Just buy a new sensor.
  • Since it is all Bluetooth based, there are no ugly cables running all over the place ruining the interior of your car.
  • Always cloud connected. No need to mess with hotpots and clunky communication interfaces. Since the Highway Radar App is the brains and is directly connected via Bluetooth, you always have the benefit of the latest software updates and all the crowd sourced data benefits.
  • No need to waste resources trying to process ambient audio looking for radar detector sounds.
  • You no longer need to spend $3,500-$5,000+ for a cleanly installed radar detector setup because the small sensors can be hidden so easily.
And finally imagine a magnetically mounted battery that you can attach to the back of the sensor that can power the radar detector sensor for at least 12 hours. This way you don’t even need to worry about running 12V cables anywhere to power the sensors. Since the battery just attaches to the back with a strong magnet it takes just 15 seconds to snap a charged battery to the front and back sensors and just drive away. Imagine how awesome this would be when you travel or renting a car?

Imagine having hundreds of thousands of these sensors constantly alive and sharing sensor data with everyone all the time.

So, who wants to build a 12V Bluetooth sensor that can connect to the Highway Radar App and start printing money? :cool: I can easily see people pay $50-$100 (Two for $150 for front and rear?) for such a sensor. These sensors will make 1980s looking radar detectors obsolete.

Thoughts?
 

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Neat idea, trying to make this "Bluetooth radar sensor" sounds like quite the undertaking haha, good luck!
 

RadarNodar

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Neat idea, trying to make this "Bluetooth radar sensor" sounds like quite the undertaking haha, good luck!
I wonder how much of this Bluetooth sensor can be built with off the shelf components.

So the battery is basically done. You can have an enclosure for two 18650 batteries that magnetically attaches to the Bluetooth sensor module with a strong magnet.

The Bluetooth communication module should be super straightforward.

So the question is are there off the shelf radar sensors that can listen in on the appropriate wavelengths and output the signal type and strength to the Bluetooth module?

We basically need something like this but can detector the police radar wavelengths:

 

ferius

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That sounds interesting. However, there are couple technical limitations which make the RDs look like they look new. @Jon at Radenso, @Vortex -- I think you could add to this much more than I.

  • My ideal Bluetooth Sensor will be as small as possible. Preferably around 4” X 2” or smaller with a depth of no more than 2 inches. The same sensor or another sensor can handle laser as well, along with possibly also handling jamming/laser shifting (jamming can be turned off from the app as soon as you reduce your speed).
  • Picks up radar (super long range) from the front and the sides.
https://www.youtube.com/c/RadensoRadar/videos -- Watch videos starting from about 10 months ago. They can give a good technical undestanding about how modern radar detectors work, and why it is hard to make them that small yet super long range.

  • Design the radar/laser sensor so it can be used as a “parking sensor,” so that if “anyone” asks, if you have a radar detector, you can say why yes, I have a parking sensor.
I don't think you can easily certify a parking sensor using police frequencies now. Supporting a wider frequencies band just to have a feature nobody is going to use doesn't make much sense. I think ALP has the parking sensors feature mostly because it comes there at almost zero cost.

  • Can be affixed with a suction mount or with adhesive. The benefit of a suction mount is you can easily take it with you. Imagine having two of these sensors (one for the front and other for the rear) that you can just get in a rental car (or second or third car) and in 15 seconds you can mount one up front and one in the rear and you have 360 degree radar coverage. This way even if you have 3 cars, you just need to buy two sensors.
This won't allow you to have the laser jammers capability as you suggested above. Due to the nature of the laser beam, you have to mount laser heads in the grill. You can't have an LJ on you windshield.

  • You no longer need to buy a $500 radar detector whenever sensing technology improves. Just buy a new sensor.
AFAIK, the sensor itself is the most expensive and complicated part in current RDs.

  • Always cloud connected. No need to mess with hotpots and clunky communication interfaces. Since the Highway Radar App is the brains and is directly connected via Bluetooth, you always have the benefit of the latest software updates and all the crowd sourced data benefits.
Escort with their patents covering all that cloud stuff is probably laughing here :)

And finally imagine a magnetically mounted battery that you can attach to the back of the sensor that can power the radar detector sensor for at least 12 hours. This way you don’t even need to worry about running 12V cables anywhere to power the sensors. Since the battery just attaches to the back with a strong magnet it takes just 15 seconds to snap a charged battery to the front and back sensors and just drive away. Imagine how awesome this would be when you travel or renting a car?
There are already some battery-powered radar detectors. Unfortunately batteries of the size fitting into RD aren't able to supply sufficient power for good performance for reasonable time. One of those RD's is Escort Solo S4. You can see how it compares to other detectors here
 

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I have to head out of the office here in a few so I don't have time to answer it, but @ferius did a good job covering the basics. These are not new ideas - every radar detector company would love to make a device like this, but for several reasons it's not practical from a technology standpoint. When you say things like "when sensing technology improves" I think you don't realize that the antenna itself - while important - is only part of the system that is "sensing technology," and the rest of it is what is so expensive. And separating the DSP part of the detector wirelessly from the antenna/sensor would destroy performance completely.
 

R4D4RUS3R

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Yea, it's a neat idea for sure but physics is against you at the moment. You can with the help of apps, make a V1 quiet and reply on the app to speak over BT. I personally want to hear the alert from the detector since its going to be faster to respond and available even when an app is not. BUT, I follow and why not focus on making things better. They can be over time but right now, I think you're seeng the best of what has been come up with but expect to see more as we go along.
 

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I have to head out of the office here in a few so I don't have time to answer it, but @ferius did a good job covering the basics. These are not new ideas - every radar detector company would love to make a device like this, but for several reasons it's not practical from a technology standpoint. When you say things like "when sensing technology improves" I think you don't realize that the antenna itself - while important - is only part of the system that is "sensing technology," and the rest of it is what is so expensive. And separating the DSP part of the detector wirelessly from the antenna/sensor would destroy performance completely.
Thanks for the response and the background information! :)

I didn't mean to diminish the amount of effort it takes to make these devices and I totally get the importance of having the DSP and the antenna on the device. I am also fine with this costing about as much as a standard radar detector.

I just wish modern radar detectors were less like what they used to look like since the 1980s (though I know internally they are a lot more sophisticated) and more like the Varia RVR315 bike radar made by Garmin. It is battery powered with a 15 hour battery life and both transmits and processes return radar signals. It is wireless and works via Bluetooth and the interface is the phone App. The Phone App is incredibly well made and you can see cars that approach you on the phone screen along with the speed of the car. IMHO this is how a modern radar detector should function.


My ideal radar detector is a device like this that's basically a small black enclosure that I can attach to the front of the car and another to the rear of the car and powered via 12V (or battery when traveling if that's possible). While the DSP and antenna for radar signals occurs on the device the interface and alerting takes place on the App via Bluetooth communication.

Like I said, I've never had a radar detector before and thinking about getting one and realized the core user experience has changed very little since the 80s. Current radar detectors are like a Christmas tree of lights you mount near the rear view mirror with miles of alerts when the whole interface can be handled a lot more elegantly on an App like Highway Radar where you can keep an eye on everything on one screen with one button to acknowledge alerts.

Especially if I'm having a conversation with someone in the car, all I need to know is: "I detector radar" and "All clear. I no longer detect radar."

A Bluetooth Radar Detector would be such a dream to use when paired with the Highway Radar App.
 
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ferius

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Thanks for the response and the background information! :)

I didn't mean to diminish the amount of effort it takes to make these devices and I totally get the importance of having the DSP and the antenna on the device. I am also fine with this costing about as much as a standard radar detector.

I just wish modern radar detectors were less like what they used to look like since the 1980s (though I know internally they are a lot more sophisticated) and more like the Varia RVR315 bike radar made by Garmin. It is battery powered with a 15 hour battery life and both transmits and processes return radar signals. It is wireless and works via Bluetooth and the interface is the phone App. The Phone App is incredibly well made and you can see cars that approach you on the phone screen along with the speed of the car. IMHO this is how a modern radar detector should function.


My ideal radar detector is a device like this that's basically a small black enclosure that I can attach to the front of the car and another to the rear of the car and powered via 12V (or battery when traveling if that's possible). While the DSP and antenna for radar signals occurs on the device the interface and alerting takes place on the App via Bluetooth communication.

Like I said, I've never had a radar detector before and thinking about getting one and realized the core user experience has changed very little since the 80s. Current radar detectors are like a Christmas tree of lights you mount near the rear view mirror with miles of alerts when the whole interface can be handled a lot more elegantly on an App like Highway Radar where you can keep an eye on everything on one screen with one button to acknowledge alerts.

Especially if I'm having a conversation with someone in the car, all I need to know is: "I detector radar" and "All clear. I no longer detect radar."

A Bluetooth Radar Detector would be such a dream to use when paired with the Highway Radar App.
V1G2 + JBV1 looks like the closest to what you propose at the moment. It is paired with your phone using bluetooth, has a very long range, arrows, and extraordinary customization capabilities. It also has a very good mount, which makes using it in rental cars very convenient.

You can configure it to display nothing on the screen and only notify you using your phone. It is still not super-compact or battery-powered, however, that is where current technological progress is. You can't really achieve that long range without these issues.
 

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I for one think you should have opened with the Garmin Varia link. :)
 

ferius

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I for one think you should have opened with the Garmin Varia link. :)
Well, it looks really cool. However, it has way less-performant radar and receiver. You can't really make a usable RD of that size today. I think Stinger VIP patch antenna is the closest, but it still requires a huge wired CPU and a good amount of power to process the signal.
 
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There are many reasons why your dream really isn't possible--yet. You should really read up on Radenso's Theia to get a glimpse of what it really takes to design something that can alert you only when real radar is detected, and you may get an idea of why disposable battery powered "sensors" are just not currently practicable.

Regarding the Garmin, it doesn't really surprise me that it's approved for operation in 24.03 GHz to 24.241 GHz. I wonder what frequency (or frequencies) it really uses and what the waveform looks like. Maybe Rai will train on it ;)

 

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Well, it looks really cool. However, it has way less-performant radar and receiver.
No doubt! I think it would have helped the visual of where he was going if it had been in the first post is all. :)
 

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I wonder how much of this Bluetooth sensor can be built with off the shelf components.

So the battery is basically done. You can have an enclosure for two 18650 batteries that magnetically attaches to the Bluetooth sensor module with a strong magnet.
Interesting device, but...

So why exactly do I want to go cordless when power is available and I now have to remember to charge the device etc.
I'll take hardwired and simpler devices any day.

I highly suspect that there is a fair chunk of processing in that device. Then transmitting a "summary" of what it sees, probably over bluetooth. Similar "architecture" as what Valentine1 does and Theia will be doing. But both those units are highly tuned for the range of what they need to work in and detail/filtering they respectfully will provide. Detecting your own transmitted signal is very different than detecting a bunch of foreign signals and sorting out what's a threat. You could argue to remove the user interface from either unit, but that doesn't take up that much real estate, so why not offer it "standalone" (for a wider user market). And you can optionally add a "remote" display.
 
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RadarNodar

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Interesting device, but...

So why exactly do I want to go cordless when power is available and I now have to remember to charge the device etc.
I'll take hardwired and simpler devices any day.

I highly suspect that there is a fair chunk of processing in that device. Then transmitting a "summary" of what it sees, probably over bluetooth. Similar "architecture" as what Valentine1 does and Theia will be doing. But both those units are highly tuned for the range of what they need to work in and detail/filtering they respectfully will provide. Detecting your own transmitted signal is very different than detecting a bunch of foreign signals and sorting out what's a threat. You could argue to remove the user interface from either unit, but that doesn't take up that much real estate, so why not offer it "standalone" (for a wider user market). And you can optionally add a "remote" display.
I like the cordless aspect only because it makes for a super clean install front and rear. It's also perfect for when you travel with a rental car as you will essentially have front and rear radar coverage that you can install and remove in 15 seconds with no ugly cables. You can just charge the front and rear radar devices at night when you charge your phone.

And I didn't mean to imply that powering it with 18650 batteries will be a primary use case. In your daily driver, you can have it hard wired with 12V but then when you travel you can just snap them off and take them with you. I figured a magnetically attached battery would work really easily and it will reduce the bulk of the device when it is powered by the car.

I totally get the extra complexity and CPU power involved with processing radar detector signals. I have a greater appreciation for that now than when I initially posted! :p

My biggest point is I wish I could buy a radar detector that is very close to how the Garmin RV 315 Bike Radar functions. Basically a self contained black box that I can have in the front of the car and another in the back of the car. Both hard wired to 12V but has no "interface" and the entirety of the driver interface happening on the App, where I feel it really belongs.

Just for the heck of it, go on eBay and look up a 1980s era radar detector. What we buy today looks not too different from a packaging and UI perspective (though the internals are a lot more advanced). They all flash Christmas lights and chirp like crazy for miles...

My point is that my dream radar detector setup is one where Highway Radar controls and manages the UI and alerts with the radar detectors essentially being a black boxe with the antenna and DSP and communicating with the app when it detects radar.

Basically the radar detector automotive equivalent of the Garmin RV 315 Bike Radar.

The other side benefit of a black box detector that is concealed is that god forbid you are pulled over the officer does not see you have been running a radar detector. I feel you are better off if an officer does not know you are running a radar detector and it's better for it to be concealed.

With the Bluetooth radar detector approach, you get some of the benefits of an expensive custom radar installation without any of the wiring hassles.
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No doubt! I think it would have helped the visual of where he was going if it had been in the first post is all. :)
Yeah I should have mentioned the Garmin Bike Radar in the first post.

I just feel the time has come for radar detectors to fundamentally look different than they have for the last 40 years by moving the entire user interface and alerts to a comprehensive phone app like Highway Radar.

After I bought my current car, I've become really sensitive about having a clean and uncluttered car interior and mounting a radar detector with Christmas lights beneath the rear view mirror seems unnecessarily garish.

For those of you that have dash cams there is a similar comparison here. Isn't is great how Thinkware and Blackvue have removed screens and the user interface from their dashcams? This way they are not burdened by implementing a UI on the device and can instead work to make the packaging of the Dashcam as small as possible while offering a richly configurable and easy to use UI on the phone.

I love the compact nondescript shapes of the higher end Blackvue and Thinkware Dashcams. I just wish someone would take a similar approach with a radar detector and sell a quality modern long range radar detector that does not scream for attention. Instead disappears like a dashcam and works with an App like Highway Radar that also integrates speed cameras, police reportings, aircraft etc., so that you have one interface, one map, and one alerting system for everyhting.
 
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Why use two? A single unit with front and rear facing antennas magnetically mounted on the roof of your vehicle would work, wouldn't it?

The Garmin bike radar is NOT a radar detector. It operates on a single, known frequency. Our radar detectors must detect and classify multiple radio signals operating on three or more distinct bands, plus a myriad of background clutter from BSM's, security systems and automatic door openers. They, unlike the Garmin, must be able to detect and classify extremely weak signals. That takes a lot of electronic processing ability, which is expensive, so why leave it out in the elements where it may suffer degradation or theft?
 

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It hasn’t changed much aesthetically since the 80s because it’s a efficient, effective and affordable design. Bicycles haven’t changed much in general design but the materials and components in today’s bikes compared to 30 years ago is the key to progress.
 

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Why use two? A single unit with front and rear facing antennas magnetically mounted on the roof of your vehicle would work, wouldn't it?

The Garmin bike radar is NOT a radar detector. It operates on a single, known frequency. Our radar detectors must detect and classify multiple radio signals operating on three or more distinct bands, plus a myriad of background clutter from BSM's, security systems and automatic door openers. They, unlike the Garmin, must be able to detect and classify extremely weary signals. That takes a lot of electronic processing ability, which is expensive, so why leave it out in the elements where it may suffer degradation or theft?
The reason I thought of two is so that I can mount one behind the rear view mirror so it is not visible and the other can be mounted on the rear glass. I just want to keep the car interior clean and uncluttered.

I wasn't implying that the device be out in the elements (though the Garmin bike radar seems to be weather sealed). The device can be installed like a front and rear dashcam, totally out of sight and no one would know unless they know what to look for. Installation will be easily because you just need a wire for power with all the communication occurring via Bluetooth.

Also I totally get how much more advanced high end radar detectors are. All I'm saying is to package the radar detector capability into a package similar to a dashcam and expose the UI and alerting using a much more advanced and functional alerting and user interface with an app like Highway Radar.
 

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It hasn’t changed much aesthetically since the 80s because it’s a efficient, effective and affordable design. Bicycles haven’t changed much in general design but the materials and components in today’s bikes compared to 30 years ago is the key to progress.
I guess the same could be said about a flip phone from way back. :p Those flip phones sure were quite an efficient, effective and affordable design too but look what we can do with modern phones. We can now run Highway Radar on our phones that integrate surface police, flying police (aircraft!), speed light cameras, threat heat maps and so much more.

So rather than mount a garish blinking Christmas light display under the rear view mirror ruining the clean and unclutered car interior, I would much prefer to have a nondescript radar detector that sends radar threat information to the Highway Radar App via Bluetooth...

Seriously, can you not imagine how awesome it would be to have radar detector alerts right on the Highway Radar App that shows everything else and not have to reach out to mute the blinking Christmas lights display? :)
 
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