Columbus radar technology startup, GhostWave, meets military and auto industry pain points

Cynthia Bent Findlay
For Columbus CEO
Radar image (photo courtesy GhostWave)

The story of GhostWave, a Columbus-based high-tech radar system startup, offers a window into the real-life time and effort required to get innovation off the ground.

GhostWave launched in 2017 offering a groundbreaking interference-resistant radar system and winning more than $2 million in contracts. Their path since then involves a combination of pivots—and also drones, bees, artificial intelligence and automotive industry potential.

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GhostWave’s system prevents mutual radar interference, a problem that occurs when multiple radar users, whether they be in flight or on the ground, cross paths. It’s a problem both the military and the automotive industry have a keen interest in.

2022 may be the year for more promising progress—or for liftoff.

GhostWave applies Ohio State University-licensed engineering technology to a growing variety of unique applications. The company won two Ohio Federal Research Network contracts, one for $1.3 million and one for $1.2 million, in 2018.

The contracts focused on a drone UAV collision avoidance system in collaboration with OSU, Ohio University, Lockheed Martin and the U.S. Air Force.

Along the way, GhostWave also took part in a fascinating study with the Ohio Department of Agriculture looking at whether the wind speed produced by bees hovering around a hive could help monitor hive health.

Dean Zody, Ghostwave CEO and co-founder (Photo courtesy GhostWave)

GhostWave’s CEO and co-founder Dean Zody says interesting preliminary results from that study combined with the possible future addition of internet of things devices and some AI may advance that work even more.

Zody says the company is also in weekly meetings with the military talking drone counterswarm technology, but it’s the automotive industry that’s tugging at GhostWave’s attention currently.

Car industry sees growing use for radar interference mitigation technology

More and more radar sensors are being added to vehicles as self-parking, collision avoidance systems and other features are added to every make and model, so having a system that prevents cross interference on the road is going to be more and more critical. Zody says discussions with the industry were put on the back burner a couple of years ago as military work ramped up, but that started to change last summer.

“The auto industry is a tough nut to crack,” Zody says. “It was hard explaining what GhostWave can do. But recently they came back to us.”

While GhostWave is still working on two Federal Small Business Innovation Research contracts working on higher frequency radars and adding functionality such as AI and other new features, Zody says he sees the company offering an off the shelf product within the next five years.

Cynthia Bent Findlay is a freelance writer.


4621 Lyman Drive, Hilliard, 43026

Business: Next generation radar systems

Founded: 2017

CEO: Dean Zody

Employees: 2