Fully-Integrated Radar Sensor IC Delivers Extensive Range Capabilities

08 January 2024

The AWR2544 from Texas Instruments is a game-changing single-chip mmWave radar sensing solution. Covering a 76GHz to 81GHz frequency range, with 4 transmitter and 4 receiver channels, it has a 300MHz Arm Cortex-R5F processing element, plus digital signal processing and a 37.5MSps sampling rate data converter.

This presents the automotive industry with the first mmWave radar sensor to support more effective satellite radar architectures, which means the range that can be supported is accentuated (beyond 200m) - thereby providing either the vehicle driver or autonomous systems with more time in which to make safety-critical decisions. Also, thanks to the proprietary launch-on-package (LOP) technology employed, the size of the sensor assembly can be reduced by as much as 30% compared to alternative manufacturers’ solutions - by mounting a 3D waveguide antenna on the opposite side of the PCB. Ethernet, I2C and SPI interfacing are incorporated. The device will be on display at the company’s CES booth (N116, LVCC North Hall) in Las Vegas this week. Alongside it will be the new highly-integrated AEC-Q100 qualified DRV3946-Q1 and DRV3901-Q1 software-programmable driver ICs - which are targeted at use in electric vehicle (EV) powertrains and battery management system (BMS) implementations. They offer more streamlined and efficient control of high-voltage disconnect circuits than is possible via discrete arrangements. Consequently, safety is assured without impacting on EV travelling distances or adding to system complexity. The DRV3946-Q1 is a 12V contactor driver with current sensing. Providing an intelligent pyro fuse disconnect mechanism, to prevent thermal runaway situations and suchlike, the DRV3901-Q1 is a dual-channel 40V squib driver. It includes a peak-and-hold current controller that augments system power efficiency. In addition, it has built-in diagnostic capabilities. Both drivers adhere to ISO 26262 functional safety requirements.

“Semiconductor innovations like the ones we’re showcasing this year at CES are helping automotive systems continue to evolve and contribute to a safer driver experience,” states Fern Yoon, Director of Automotive Systems at Texas Instruments. “From more advanced driver assistance systems to smarter electric vehicle powertrain systems, TI is working alongside automakers to reimagine how reliable and intelligent technology can enable safer vehicles.”

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