NXP puts imaging radar on broader footing

January 04, 2022 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
NXP puts imaging radar on broader footing
The new S32R41 radar processor joins NXPs S32R45 model. With this, the company aims to meet the needs of the automotive industry for all-round radar coverage for autonomy levels 2+ to 5 in a finer-grained way. Since the two processors are based on a common architecture, software can be easily ported and reused.

The S32R45 - the industry's first dedicated radar processor in 16nm technology - already unveiled in mid-2020, has now been released for mass production. It is now joined by the S32R41 model, with which the chip manufacturer aims to cover the requirements of an even broader market. It should be able to be used in a larger number of vehicles.

Both processors support autonomy levels L2+ to L5 and 360-degree environmental detection using 4D imaging radar. This allows vehicles not only to detect relatively bulky, large objects, but also to create finer resolution images. This allows for better mapping of the environment as well as a better understanding of the driving situation. The images allow the classification of objects such as particularly vulnerable road users and vehicles in complex urban scenarios. For example, imaging radar can identify a motorbike driving next to a large delivery truck or a child running into the lane between parked cars. It should even be able to cleanly detect the kerb, said Matthias Feulner, Senior Director Driver Assistance Systems at NXP.

In addition, the radar sensor technology must simultaneously measure speed and be able to classify objects at a distance of up to 300 m, i.e. beyond the range of human vision. Radar sensors must also be able to detect fast-moving vehicles and distinguish them from slower-moving or static obstacles, such as a lost tyre, in the driver's path. NXP's latest imaging radar processors can meet all these requirements, Feulner said.

For higher autonomy levels, NXP expects that vehicles will be equipped with multiple radar sensors for 360° coverage.

NXP's 4D imaging radar sensor is the first processor to allow simultaneous 3-in-1 multimode radar detection in the near, mid and far ranges, enabling simultaneous detection of a large field of view around the vehicle. To achieve this, the manufacturer uses an innovative architecture - it uses 192 virtual antenna channels to increase performance beyond the

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