Increasingly, modern cars need to rely on multiple antennas for communication and entertainment via multiple radio channels. Each of these channels uses a specific wavelength which will optimally be served by an antenna having specific dimensions. Therefore, the automotive industry faced three challenges which were not satisfactorily addressed by traditional antenna technologies and configurations. These include reducing the size, complexity, and cost of antenna systems; making antennas invisible and inaccessible to damage and vandalism; and reducing or consolidating the numbers of antennas required to support multiple communication and entertainment functions.
In 1993, Dr. Carles Puente, at the Universitat Politecnica de Catelunya, in Barcelona, thought of applying 1970s mathematical fractal theory to antenna technology. The innovative insight or intuition was that applying fractal theory might make it possible to overcome all the historic problems of antenna technology as they were becoming critical. He formed the Fractus Company, and developed a new generation of antennas, Fractal Antennas, now adopted by various industries in the telecommunication field. In 2002 Fractus formed A3, a company aiming at developing and marketing fractal antennas specifically to and for automotive applications.
The result has been the successful development of a number of fractal antenna applications for AM and FM reception that can be incorporated flexibly into available space in such locations as rear view mirror and center brake light housings. These give performance that is comparable to that of traditional whip or mast antennas and antennas laid across a car’s backlight, incorporated in the glass.
Initial use of A3’s fractal antennas has been in PSA’s Peugeot 307 cc, and the Fiat Ducato. The company is working on the further development of advanced fractal technologies meeting the growing needs for small, low cost, and flexible multiband antennas. A3, which has very strong patent protection for its fractal antenna technology and design, has completed a licensing agreement with Nippon Antenna, permitting the development and production of fractal antennas for its Nissan and Mazda customers globally.