Infineon Technologies
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New CMOS Transceiver MMIC on Target for Automotive Radar

Nov. 17, 2022
Infineon’s latest radar module is the first in a series of 76- to 81-GHz radar MMICs based on 28-nm CMOS technology, offering improved signal-to-noise ratio and boosting the standard module range by up to 25%.

This article is part of the TechXchange: Automotive Radar. Also check out more of coverage of Electronica 2022.

All of the major tech players, and startups whose names we don’t know yet, are working on high-performance radar modules for advanced driving-assistance systems (ADAS) and future autonomous driving. Features such as advanced emergency braking systems (AEBs) that react to crossing motorcyclists, etc., will require higher performance and an increased number of radar modules per car.

To meet those market requirements, Infineon announced the RASIC CTRX8181 transceiver—its next radar and first product in a series of new 76- to 81-GHz radar MMICs based on 28-nm CMOS technology.

According to the company, the improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and linearity of the transceiver provides high system-level performance and functional resilience. In addition, the radar transceiver simultaneously offers a scalable platform approach for different sensors, including corner, front and short-range radar, along with flexibility for new software-defined-vehicle architectures.

“The new CTRX8181 transceiver enables a reliable object separation and detection necessary for protecting vulnerable road users, including motorcyclists, cyclists, or pedestrians,” said Tomas Lucia, Head of Product Marketing Radar MMIC at Infineon’s Automotive Division. “The increased RF performance is a prerequisite for the successful deployment of dependable assisted and automated driving functions for all SAE levels, up to Level 4.”

The first instantiation of this effort is the work that was done to develop the CTRX8181 according to the latest ISO 26262 safety standards. What’s more, the device comes with four transmit and four receive channels, offers improved SNR, and increases the standard module range by up to 25% (e.g., from 250 to more than 300 meters). The higher RF-channel count with improved linearity also enables 33% higher vertical or angular resolution to allow for better separation between different objects like pedestrians next to cars.

These features contribute to the development of radar modules for all applications, from corner radar to high-resolution radar.

Reduced Power Consumption

The in-chip, digital phase-locked loop (PLL) allows for faster ramps for better range resolution and fast flyback times. This new feature reduces power consumption and leads to more accurate speed information required to separate objects at similar speeds. It also enables a completely free configurable ramp without compromising phase noise, making the radar robust and reliable in different scenarios. As a result, it’s prepared for interference-robust frequency schemes.

Any hitches? One possible design niggle for users of other solutions is that for best performance, the new CTRX product family was created to be combined with the company’s radar-specific AURIX microcontrollers (MCUs) TC3x and upcoming TC4x. Both feature integrated signal processing units (SPUs) and non-volatile memory for on-chip program code storage.

The AURIX chipset and CTRX enable the best performance for future NCAP and real-world scenarios, such as improved reliability for radar function in bad weather conditions. It supports precise distance measurement and simultaneous transmitter operation for MIMO.

The idea behind the system partitioning is to give vendors the flexibility to offer traditional solutions with full processing capabilities in the radar. In addition, it allows for different architectures, such as pre-processed data streaming over 100-Mb/s or 1-Gb/s Ethernet, to be implemented with minimal effort.

The splitting also makes it possible to select appropriate MMICs and microcontrollers for target applications, enabling easy scaling to support various cost and performance requirements. The connection to the MCU is established via either LVDS or CSI-2 to improve flexibility to combine components.

Infineon offers a complete suite of 77/79-GHz radar chipsets consisting of:

  • The 77/79-GHz RF Millimeter Wave IC family (RASIC RXS816xPL)
  • MCU family featuring radar SPUs (second-generation AURIX TC3xx)
  • Radar-system power supply with numerous safety functions (TLF3068x)
  • Very compact three-chip configuration (RXS816xPL+ AURIX TC3xx + TLF3068x) for AEB sensors, etc.

Availability

Engineering samples of the new CMOS MMIC CTRX8181 transceiver are available and will be presented at electronica 2022 in Munich, Germany. The company will present intelligent and energy-efficient solutions for the connected world of tomorrow in Hall C3, Booth 502 from November 15 to 18, under the motto: “Driving decarbonization and digitalization.”

Read more articles in the TechXchange: Automotive Radar. Also check out more of coverage of Electronica 2022.

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