Infineon, IMEC collaborate on 79GHz all-CMOS radar

May 24, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Radar sensors represent a pivotal technology for autonomous vehicles. Hence, the technology leadership in this segment is critical for vendors who strive for a leading position in automotive driving. Chipmaker Infineon now has announced a collaboration with Belgian research centre IMEC to jointly develop next-generation radar systems.

IMEC is considered a global technology leader when it comes to RF technology as well as IC and antenna design for radar applications. The collaboration between the two partners will focus on further developing of 79GHz CMOS radar chips for automotive applications. The partners have already started developing a demonstrator integrated circuit implemented in 28nm CMOS technology. Their schedule calls for working specimen of the chips in Q3/2016. Early in 2017 they hope to have a radar system demonstrator based on this chip.


Vehicles with driver assistance systems today make use of up to three different radar systems. In the highly automated vehicle of the future, up to ten such systems will do their service experts expect – on top of another ten sensor systems based on camera and lidar technology.


The development aims at implementing a 360°-surround sensor image, a kind of “safety cocoon” for the vehicles, explained Ralf Bornefeld, Vice President and General Manager of Infineon’s Sense & Control business section. He announced that the company plans to build single-chip CMOS radar sensors as the technology of choice for automated parking applications which require exceptional short-range sensing. The company nevertheless does not plan to cover all kinds of automotive radar applications with CMOS technology. SiGe radar devices will continue to co-exist with CMOS, Bornefeld recently explained in an interview with EE Times Europe .


The new 79GHz radar technology features better angular and frequency resolution compared to established 24GHz technology. The higher frequency resolution facilitates using the Doppler effect for speed measurements. “We will implement radar sensor prototypes  with integrated MIMO antennas, capable of identifying large objects, pedestrians and cyclists”, explains Wim Van Thillo, program director, perspective systems at IMEC. “Thus, the development will contribute to achieve more safety in the traffic.”