News & Analysis

CES 2023: RFCMOS single chip adds 4D sensing for ADAS

5th January 2023
Mick Elliott

NXP Semiconductors has unveiled the first 28nm RFCMOS single chip at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas (January 5-8).

The new SAF85xx one-chip family combines NXP’s high-performance radar sensing and processing technologies into a single device, offering tier ones and OEMs new flexibility in addressing short, medium and long range radar applications to serve ever more challenging NCAP safety requirements.

The devices enable 4D sensing that adds elevation capability for corner and front radar, serving critical safety ADAS applications, such as automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, cross-traffic alert and automated parking.

Says Matthias Feulner, Senior Director, ADAS at NXP Semiconductors, “The single chip integration means it is very compact and that enables us to reduce the sensor size by 30% – it’s a 5cm x 5cm module which can be mounted in space constrained locations.”

He adds, “This is increasingly important as car makers are emphasising the importance of industrial design – they want sensors to blend in, not stick out.”

This device improves the performance of the millmetre wave radar front end by a factor of 2.

“It enables us to do important things in ADAS, for example, see smaller objects farther down the road, the radar range is increased to 300 meteres and more. It enables the radar to detect smaller objects like vulnerable pedestrians standing next to a parked car or bike rider next to a big truck,” explains Feulner.

The device is the third generation RFCMOS chip from NXP.

Gen1 is based on a 40nm process. It is the first to ramp up to mass production and 10s of millions have been shipped to date. Gen2, also a 40nm device, added sub-one degree resolution.

The SAF85xx family of automotive radar SoCs is comprised of high-performance radar transceivers integrated with multi-core radar processors which are built on NXP’s S32R radar compute platform. They offer twice the RF performance and accelerates radar signal processing by up to 40%, compared to NXP’s previous generation.

NXP says that OEMs will benefit from the increased flexibility it offers in meeting the expanding NCAP safety requirements.

The device's scalability will cope with the proliferation of radar sensors, which some estimates project by 2025 will range to up to five in mid-range cars and 10 or more in premium range cars.

“This advanced radar sensing technology plays an essential part in accelerating the development of next-generation ADAS,” said Hiroshi Kondo, Head of Safety Systems Business Unit at DENSO Corporation. “We know DENSO will extend its leadership position in ADAS by leveraging NXP’s compact high-performance SAF85xx radar SoC.”

“Our new radar one-chip family enables the reliable long range detection of objects and separation of small objects next to larger ones, like a fast-moving motorcycle next to cars and trucks on a busy multi-lane highway,” said Torsten Lehmann, Executive Vice President, NXP Semiconductors. “Its small form factor allows our customers to build radar sensor modules that are up to 30 percent smaller, enabling global suppliers of ADAS systems, like DENSO, to expand the potential of radar safety through this powerful new technology.”

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