The Linz and Graz facilities in Austria focus on 77-GHz radar, LiDAR, and RFID solutions.
By Murray Slovick, Contributing Editor
In today’s competitive world, the time between the debut of a good idea and someone else borrowing it can be measured in days, and sometimes hours. R&D helps a business get a competitive edge and be able to stay ahead of the pack.
With that in mind, Infineon will be expanding its development sites in Linz and Graz, Austria. The company’s new RF development center in Linz is designed for 400 employees. They will be involved in developing new RF components such as radar ICs for automobiles, with its main focus on 77-GHz radar chips for advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS).
Peter Schiefer, President of the Automotive Division of the Infineon Group, explains, “Infineon is shaping the future of mobility and communication. Microelectronics accounts for the majority of all innovations in the car and in the smartphone. The further development of advanced driver-assistance systems, smartphones, tablets, and navigation devices is a powerful driver of growth for Infineon. And the semiconductor solutions for all of this are developed in Linz among other locations.”
Infineon launched the first 77-GHz radar chip employing silicon-germanium technology in 2009. These chips now are used in ADAS such as distance warning and automatic emergency braking. With more than 100 million 77-GHz radar chips sold, Infineon claims to be the market leader in this category. The aim of the new R&D facility is to develop this safety technology further, since radar sensors will be part of the standard equipment of new cars in the future and are particularly needed for autonomous driving.
The facility in Linz will be the new home of Infineon’s Austria holding company DICE (Danube Integrated Circuit Engineering), which was created in 1999 as a spin-off from Johannes Keppler University. Infineon became an investor in 2000 and now holds a 72% stake in DICE.
Infineon also is expanding its development center in Graz, Austria to create space for additional 290 research and development workers. “The new building will primarily provide work areas for researchers from the automotive sector,” says Stefan Rohringer, Head of the Infineon Development Center Graz. “Microelectronics accounts for the majority of all innovations in cars. The focus here in Graz is on the development of new and safer solutions for automated and autonomous driving. These include, in particular, LiDAR (light detection and ranging) components for use in driver-assistance systems that are an essential requirement for autonomous vehicles besides radar chips.”
The Development Center Graz, which has been an Infineon site since 1998, also is the company’s worldwide Center of Competence for contactless technologies used in applications such as chip cards and security ICs, as well as wireless components for automotive applications including remote keyless entry and tire-pressure monitoring systems. System modules for the automotive industry, such as those used for controlling side mirrors, all electrical motors, and car-door lighting systems, are also developed at Graz.
Infineon Graz currently has around 9,000 m2 of office and laboratory space in four buildings. Completion of the expanded facility is planned for Summer 2020.
Infineon Graz is part of Silicon Austria and the Silicon Alps Cluster, which includes research and educational institutions such as Graz University of Technology and the JOANNEUM University of Applied Sciences. The Silicon Alps cluster directly supports the Silicon Austria initiative by the bmvit—the Federal Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology. Silicon Austria, whose headquarters will be located in Graz, will be supported by other sites in Villach and Linz.