This Bill Gates-backed startup says it just knocked down one of the last things stopping drones from taking over the world

Echodyne, a radar array startup with investors including Bill Gates, his Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen’s Vulcan Capital, and Seattle’s own Madrona Ventures, just made what the company considers a landmark announcement for the future of self-driving vehicles.

Basically, Echodyne’s big breakthrough product is the Metamaterial Electronically Scanning Array (MESA) — a radar arrays that’s small enough to mount on a drone — like the ones Amazon or Google might use for their drone delivery programs — but that the company says is orders of magnitude more powerful than the kind you’d find on existing self-driving cars and drones.

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