The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Car Manufacturers and Suppliers Aim to Make Radar Sensor Systems Useable in All Vehicle Classes

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

HANOVER, GERMANY – May 29, 2009: BMW Forschung und Technik GmbH, Continental AG, Daimler AG, Infineon Technologies AG and Robert Bosch GmbH announced that they have formed the “Radar on Chip for Cars” (RoCC) technology cooperation project. The companies are engaged in joint research with the aim to significantly increase driving safety by making highly reliable radar systems available in all vehicle classes.

The three-year RoCC project has a budget of more than Euro 17 million. It is supported by a financial grant of Euro 8.3 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), as part of the ITK2020 support program focusing on “Innovation Alliance in Automotive Electronics”. The German government’s high-tech strategy promotes efforts made to reduce the overall number of traffic accidents, in this case by helping to introduce innovative safety solutions into the compact and small-vehicle classes as quickly as possible.

In the RoCC cooperative project, the five companies will work together to develop highly integrated, cost-optimized automotive radar sensor systems in the frequency range of 76 GHz to 81 GHz for both long-range systems (covering distances of up to 250 meters) and short-range systems (covering distances between five centimeters and 20 meters). Infineon Technologies is the project coordinator. Additional participants from academia include German universities in Bochum, Bremen, Erlangen-Nuremberg, Stuttgart and Ulm, the Technical University in Munich and the University of Applied Sciences in Ulm.

A previous project, KOKON (vehicle high-frequency electronics), which was also supported by the BMBF, laid the foundations for automotive radar sensor technology and provides a technological head start of at least two years for Germany. Results from the KOKON project led to the development and market introduction of the first silicon germanium (SiGe)-based radar chip family for 77 GHz by Infineon (RASICTM) and its use in the world’s first silicon-based electronics solution for an automotive 77-GHz radar system by Bosch (LRR3). Using Infineon’s SiGe chips, Continental also developed the first demonstrator of a short-range radar system at 79 GHz.

Short-range automotive radar sensors in use today use ultra-wide band technology at 24 GHz. This frequency, however, is licensed in Europe only up until the year 2013. The RoCC project aims to convert the system to the frequency range already released by the European Union of 79 GHz, and deliver systems that use these higher-frequency sensors at a cost that does not exceed today’s 24-GHz systems. This presents a significant challenge to semiconductor technology, sensor design technology and in-vehicle integration that can only be tackled by a joint research project involving some of the most important companies in the automotive industry and their suppliers.