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Radar sensor boosts safety in mid-range cars

Posted: 09 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:radar system ICs? mid-range cars? radar sensors?

Infineon Technologies has started sampling a range of radar system ICs that it says could bring long- and medium-range automotive radar to mid-range cars as soon as mid-2010.

Dubbed the RASIC, the first in the series, the RXN7740, is a tightly integrated front-end chip for the 76-77GHz frequency range which includes function blocks for the oscillator, the power amplifier and four mixers for multiple antennas.

Infineon says compared to existing radar systemsthat implement these functions through discrete componentsits device enables designers to shrink their radar systems a quarter of the current size, while reducing system costs for the radio frequency module by more than 20 percent.

The company adds that with a price tag of over 1,000 Euros, automotive radar systems are still very expensive and remain an option in higher-end, luxury vehicles only. The systems are also quite bulky, typically 10cmx 20 cm, taking up a large space in a car's fender area.

Volume production of the RXN7740 is expected to start in mid-2009. The chip uses a manufacturing technology based on SiGe with a transit frequency of 200GHz. The technology, developed with the aid of Germany's Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the KOKON project, has been designed and qualified specifically for automotive use.

"Radar technology is the key to building innovative driver assistance systems to help avoid automobile accidents," says Hans Adlkofer, vice president and general manager of Infineon Technologies' sense and control business unit. "Thanks to this chip, long-range radar could become part of the standard equipment for automobiles in the mid-range automotive segment by mid-2010," Adlkofer added.

Market research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that between 2006 to 2011, the use of long-range distance warning systems in cars could increase by more than 65 percent annually, with demand reaching 3 million units in 2011, with 2.3 million of them using radar sensors. The researchers add that by 2014, seven percent of all new cars will include a distance warning system, primarily in Europe and in Japan.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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