77GHz automotive sensors are in production since 1998. Today, they have found their way into a number of high-class models. Although being extremely valuable regarding the reduction of the number of road accidents, and allowing for a relaxed driving, the percentage of vehicles originally equipped with ACC is remarkably low. There is one main reason for this: cost.
So at the beginning there was the question: would it be feasible to build a 24GHz radar having a suffi-cient performance to be applicable as an ACC sensor? If it was possible to reduce the cost to less than 50% of the cost of a 77GHz device, certain performance restrictions can be accepted, and the chance for higher takes rates increases significantly.
This project aims at three main objectives. First, a new 77 GHz GaAs MMIC based chipset for FMCW radar systems was developed. Second, a multifunctional radar network will be realised consisting of precisely synchronised near-distance and far-distance sensors was developed based on the new chipset. Third, prototypes of such radar networks was integrated into several experimental cars to prepare the realisation of following new safety and comfort systems: urban collision avoidance, collision warning, airbag pre-crash warning, stop and go functionality, and parking aid.
Methodology of the project was to develop a new type of low cost radar network for automotive applications and to prepare the realisation of first applications: urban collision avoidance, collision warning, stop and go functionality, airbag pre-crash warning, and parking aid. Co-operation of universities, radar systems manufacturers, semiconductor manufacturers, automotive suppliers and car manufacturers from five European countries was the best basis to develop and exploit these new applications.
The development of a multifunctional radar network for the realisation of different automotive applications were significantly reduce production costs, facilitate fast system development and reduce time-to-market. The new systems were improve safety of future vehicles with benefit for passengers and other road users.
Within this project new safety related intelligent vehicle functions were developed that require radar network functionality to achieve significantly better radar performance compared to existing sensor concepts.
The development of:
- new 77 GHz GaAs chipset for the radar network,
- sensors and radar network,
- new applications including their validation.
The specification of the overall system, radar network, near and far distance sensors, sensor synchronisation, RF modules and GaAs MMIC chips. Simulations were supporting this work. Based on these results and the existing 77 GHz ACC sensor, new wide beam near distance sensors and far distance sensors were developed. Two identical near distance sensors were combined in a first step of radar network to proof the concept of sensor synchronisation, thus proofing the general technical concept of this project. Next, a complete radar network consisting of four near-distance and one far-distance sensors were realised. By applying sophisticated multi-lateration techniques and sensor fusion algorithms, the high radar performance necessary for unambiguous situation interpretation were achieved. Finally, prototypes of radar networks were integrated into experimental cars. Warning and/or control strategies for each of the new features were developed and optimised.