NXP Launches End-to-End Automotive Radar Solution

The system reduces time-to-market for applications including adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking.


By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor

Automotive radar systems are a key component of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) that sense the distance between vehicles in real time, improving driving efficiency and safety. Radar is used in side-looking and surround sensors for collision detection and avoidance, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic detection, lane-departure warning, and automated emergency steering, among other functions.

Automotive market watchers predict that by 2020, radar technology will be in 50% of all newly produced cars. The adoption of this once premium safety feature into mainstream production lines is fueling a need for faster time-to-market.

Addressing that demand, NXP expanded its radar ecosystem with an automotive radar solution, designated RDK-S32R274, that combines an NXP processor, a 77-GHz RF transceiver, and antenna design on a new reference platform. Built in collaboration with Colorado Engineering, the NXP platform is designed to help customers accelerate time-to-market by lowering the barriers of entry to radar application development with hardware, software, and tools that ease radar implementations.

The RDK-S32R274 radar reference platform (shown without housing) provides a direct path to production. (Source: NXP Semiconductors)

 The development platform uses a modular architecture and includes an NXP S32R27 processor (featuring integrated radar accelerators), the TEF810x CMOS transceiver, and the FS8410 power-management IC, along with a radar software development kit. According to NXP, expansion and antenna modules can be optimized to create a customized development platform suited to specific customer application requirements.

The solution supports capabilities such as MIMO (multiple input, multiple output), steerable beams, and digital beamforming. NXP reports that the platform provides enough performance headroom for tasks such as radar cross-section (RCS) measurements, target tracking, collision avoidance, and occupancy sensing. Maximum range is 180 m with range accuracy of 0.175 m. Angle resolution is 4.25 deg. with an angle accuracy of ±0.25 deg.

 The automotive-grade Radar Software Development Kit provides developers with an extensive radar algorithm library to quickly build and optimize applications without having to invest resources to hand-tune accelerator software. NXP’s ecosystem of compilers, development environments, and both free and commercial RTOS support provides the tools needed for faster development.

NXP’s radar processors offer customers a scalable family of products, including the previously announced S32R27 and S32R37 radar MCUs. According to the company, these devices provide 10X performance/watt improvement over a traditional digital signal processor (DSP) by integrating efficient radar accelerators. This enables longer range as well as higher resolution and accuracy for safety-critical applications such as collision avoidance, lane-change assist, and autonomous emergency braking.

The S32R27 and the S32R37 are available now for all NXP customers worldwide. The RDK-S32R274 can be pre-ordered and will start shipping by the end of November.

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