Radar chips shrink, car safety expands

Radar chips shrink, car safety expands

Dragonflies can see in nearly every direction at the same time – and with their field of vision, they can see you even after they’ve flown by. Similar to the dragonfly, radar in a car can help the car “see” where you don’t see.

Radar can see ahead of you, behind you and all around you, giving you a comprehensive 360-degree view of your environment on the road. It can see and track multiple objects including cars, bicyclists, stationary objects – anything in the vicinity of the car. And, like the brain of a dragonfly, the processor “brain” of the car can fuse data from radar, together with camera, lidar, or other sensor information, to form a complete map of the environment. Using this data, the optimal steps can be identified and motors can be activated for the ideal direction.

Radar sensors are essential components for today’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), delivering functions such as automatic emergency braking, advanced cruise control, collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring and detection, lane change and departure assistance and vulnerable road user detection.

With radar-based collision avoidance systems, for example, the car “sees” and tracks the distance of a moving car ahead. If the driver fails to slow the car from an imminent collision, the car can quickly react by warning the driver or taking actions such as emergency braking or evasive steering.

NXP won the prestigious automotive innovation award – the Best Dutch Innovation – for our ultra-compact radar transceiver TEF801X that pioneers the way towards safe autonomous driving.

360-degree radar sensing doesn’t have to be bulky

To provide a 360-degree view of the surroundings, radar sensors are placed all around the car. At each sensor point, NXP chips are used to generate, transmit, receive, digitize, process, and communicate the radar signals. The number of sensors around the car can add up to a dozen or more! This bulky size can be an integration challenge for car OEMs. That’s why our engineers created a tiny, postage-stamp size radar sensor.

Ultra-compact makes it easy to integrate into car design

TEF810X chip uses RFCMOS technology for ultra-compact and scalable radar systems

NXP products like our MR2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset, ultra-reliable MPC577xK processor and  award-winning TEF810X chip using RFCMOS technology  deliver ultra-compact and scalable radar system design. This combination of high performance and high integration makes it possible to reduce the size of radar sensors by 50 percent, from the size of a deck of cards to the size of a postage stamp.

Radar sensors made with NXP chips are small, low power, and easy to physically mount on the vehicle. Recently Hella announced its new Radar Generation CompactRadar that uses this technology. Watch how it works on the front bumper of a car.

Boost in affordability – and energy savings

Thanks to innovative high-performance circuitry inside the NXP chips, the radar sensors operate at less than 5W of power consumption, allowing tiny size and flexible location of multiple sensors all around the car.

Radar paves the way for improved traffic safety

About 1.3 million people die in road fatalities every year, and radar-based safety systems can help reduce that number, making roads around the world much safer.

The European New Car Assessment Programme (NCAP) has researched the effect of Autonomous Emergency Braking, concluding that it can reduce the number of rear-end collisions by 38 percent. In its requirements for 2020, the NCAP places emphasis on vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. Radar sensors equipped with the NXP radar chip have been designed to rigorous safety standards guaranteeing the highest level of safety  performance for reliable operation.

This is why NXP invests a great effort and passion in making the radar technology better, smaller, and more affordable.

Growth is incredibly fast — and this is just the start 

In this fast-growing market, NXP’s growth is even faster — shipping more than half of all new radar sensors in 2016. And as we look to the future, we see we are just at the beginning of the radar ramp up. In the near future, we see even more applications emerging for radar including parking, real-time imaging, and more. We see increasing need for high performance processing, best-in-class security, and true multi-channel, multi-mode operation. We will see the continued integration trend pushing towards even smaller true “single chips” which promise even further savings in size and power, while maintaining high performance. Stay tuned for more updates as we continue this very exciting ride to the top.

Patrick Morgan
Patrick Morgan
Patrick Morgan is the VP/GM of the ADAS Product Line within NXP Semiconductors’ Business Line Car Infotainment & Driver Assistance. In this role, Patrick is responsible for the management of the company’s ADAS modems and transceiver ICs for automotive radar and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications. Over his 25-year career, Patrick has held leadership positions in innovative, high growth businesses in automotive, industrial, and mobile handset markets. Patrick joined NXP from Freescale Semiconductor, where he was the GM of Automotive Safety Systems, delivering the world’s most highly integrated airbag, braking, and radar ICs. Patrick holds 4 issued patents and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.

Comments are closed.

Buy now