Aimed at improving how advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) sense objects to help meet new regulations, Texas Instruments (TI) has launched its 77-GHz AWR2944 radar sensor that delivers enhanced object detection with a 33% higher resolution, enabling it to quickly detect objects, monitor blind spots, and navigate turns and corners. It also is said to sense oncoming vehicles at up to 40% farther distances.
“Changing lanes and navigating tight corners present some of the most complex design challenges for our customers today,” said Yariv Raveh, business unit manager for TI mmWave radar. “To create a safer driving experience, driver assistance systems must quickly and accurately process massive amounts of data and clearly communicate with the driver.”
Click for a larger image. (Source: Texas Instruments Inc.)
TI’s second generation, single-chip radar sensor for ADAS was developed to address new and upcoming regulation requirements as well as OEM demands. This device joins the existing mmWave radar portfolio including the AWR1843 and AWR1642.
Designing solutions for ADAS can be a very challenging task, said Raveh. It starts with the basics of functional safety, which requires a lot of redundancy, and additional processing in terms of the certifications required and the redundancy in the design, he added.
Other factors include time to market such as meeting milestones set by the OEM, which can have a domino effect ON the overall car development if one milestone is missed, new regulations that are creating more design challenges and more requirements, and because the number of devices in the car are significantly increasing the cost pressure is very high, which drives a lot of scrutiny in terms of the way the devices are built, Raveh said. “You are not just innovating the device; you are also providing it in a very cost-effective way.”
A key driver behind the development of the AWR2944 radar sensor are new motor vehicle safety requirements from U.N. Regulation No. 79 and updated New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) standards that call for automakers to improve steering systems to support ADAS and automated driving functions. (For more information: What ADAS engineers need to know about the new NCAP requirements for radar)
The AWR2944 is aimed at supporting these new functionalities with improved capabilities in the design, he said. The uniqueness is the ability to do that in a single chip in a cost-effective way that also allows for evolving requirements to be implemented, said Raveh.
The 77-GHz AWR2944 radar sensor is said to provide best-in-class radio frequency (RF) performance in a small form factor – approximately 30% smaller compared to radar sensors –
and 33% higher resolution than existing radar sensors thanks to the integration of a fourth transmitter. This enables vehicles to detect obstacles more clearly and avoid collisions, said TI.
But it is more than the additional transmitter, Raveh said. The design also required an improvement in the radar’s signal chain, the ability to do high-performance processing, and also with improved RF capabilities to significantly improve the link budget or the range of the sensor itself, he added.
The radar sensor’s unique hardware supported by Doppler division multiple access (DDMA)-based signal processing reportedly improves the ability to sense oncoming vehicles at distances up to 40% farther away.
Also new on the chip is more memory, an improved DSP, and additional security to support cybersecurity standards that will be required in vehicles by late 2024 or early 2025, he said. Security features include cryptographic acceleration, device identity/keys, secure boot, secure software update, software IP protection, and trusted execution environment
The challenging engineering task is integrating all of those capabilities into a single device in a cost-effective way, and the key things needed to enable them is resolution, memory, compute, processing and security, he added.
TI’s single-chip AWR2944 radar sensor (Source: Texas Instruments Inc.)
Key AWR2944 features include:
- Integrated transceiver with 4 Rx and 4 Tx
- Built-in calibration and monitoring engine
- R5F for functional safety and communication
- GEN 2+ RF performance (better PN, OP, NF)
- 37.5 MSPS sampling frequency & 15 MHz IF BW
- HWA 2.0 for radar pre-processing (FFT)
- C66x DSP for signal processing
- 4 MB on-chip memory
- ASIL-B capable
- Temperature range Tj= –40°to 140°C
TI offers a portfolio of solutions for ADAS including integrated system-on-chip radar sensors, edge artificial intelligence processors, and automotive-qualified power-management ICs (PMICs) such as the LP87745-Q1 low-noise, multi-rail PMIC for radar monolithic microwave processors.
The AWR2944 is priced at $23.95 in quantities of 1,000. The company also offers the AWR2944 evaluation module (AWR2944EVM), which is available on TI.com for $549. TI is showcasing several virtual demos for automotive safety at ti.com/CES.
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