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Alcan Systems: founded in 2015, German startup has taken in $9.19 million (7.5 million euros) in disclosed funding to build smart antennas which are flat, thin, and able to steer their beam electronically without any moving parts. Applications for such an antenna would be moving vehicles such as trains, ships, or that overland Unimog we’re planning to build in case the apocalypse arrives.

Unlimited bandwidth may sound great, but it comes with certain limitations. For example, mmWave frequencies have a range of 300 yards (300 meters) – 50x less than 4G – making electronically steerable antennas (ESA) essential to improve performance. ALCAN’s 5G solutions use liquid crystal which is controlled by an electromagnetic field. This can change the direction of the received or transmitted beam without needing to physically turn the antenna.

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