Freescale MCU and 77 GHz radar chipset enable ADAS in lower-priced vehicles
June 25, 2013 by John Day
Scalable solution reduces BOM cost and board space
Freescale introduced what it describes as the industry’s most comprehensive system-level solution for radar-based advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – the Qorivva MPC577xK microcontroller (MCU) and the MRD2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset.
According to the company, with the new MCU and radar transceiver chipset automakers can implement long-range and mid-range frontal radar for adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking (AEB) systems, and also manage blind spot and side-impact detection.
Together the new products provide the embedded technology necessary for affordable radar-based ADAS solutions with fewer components and, therefore, lower bill of materials (BOM) and manufacturing costs. The products also address the size of the radar system footprint, which has tended to limit the deployment of radar to front-facing systems.
Mark O’Donnell, Freescale product manager for chassis and safety MCUs, noted that safety systems have been available primarily in premium vehicles, due to the cost of the systems. He said the new products should help increase the adoption of radar-based ADAS in mainstream vehicles and help automakers keep pace with stiffer safety requirements. “ADAS works,” he said, “and it needs to be available throughout a vehicle maker’s lineup and not just in premium cars.”
Performance data from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) suggests that safety systems such as AEB can reduce accidents by up to 27% and also lead to a considerable reduction in road injuries. Euro NCAP plans to incorporate the AEB assessment for cars sold in Europe into its five- star rating scheme beginning in 2014.
NHTSA five-star safety program
The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently proposed a number of changes to its five-star safety program, indicating that automakers may soon be required to prevent crashes in addition to protecting passengers during crashes.
Many automakers are working to meet this new standard by the year 2016 and are currently testing solutions that will allow them to achieve the highest level of safety while also providing the advanced technology and convenience features that consumers are rapidly coming to expect.
Designers can pair the radar transceiver chipset with the Qorivva MCU to achieve a total system solution for both low-end and high-end radar modules. By utilizing a single, scalable solution, automakers can avoid purchasing and reconfiguring various solutions across vehicle models, saving time and material costs.
“ADAS solutions continue to proliferate and are no longer exclusive to high-end luxury vehicles,” said Ian Riches, Director – Global Automotive Practice, Strategy Analytics. “Automakers are now looking to implement these sophisticated safety features across their entire lineups and, to do so, they need more integrated, cost-optimized solutions.
“Freescale’s radar solution offers automakers virtually everything they need for scalable ADAS applications, as no other semiconductor or components are needed to complete the system. This will enable consumers to benefit from safer, more advanced and reliable vehicles beyond the luxury market.”
Qorivva MPC577xK MCU – single-chip automotive radar solution
The Qorivva MPC577xK MCU, built on Power Architecture® technology, provides the highest level of digital and analog integration in a single-chip solution for radar applications, according to
Freescale, removing up to four additional major printed circuit board (PCB) components and reducing system-level cost, PCB space and software complexity. Radar product line manager Mark Wilson estimated that board space reduction could be as much as 40 percent.
The MCU also provides high performance for intense computational tasks with key integrated digital accelerators and features a state-of-the-art signal processing toolbox that contains all of the hardware modules required for processing sampled signals from short-, medium- and long-range radar applications. These features of the Qorivva MPC577xK MCU will help enable adoption of radar-based ADAS in more mainstream vehicles.
The Qorivva MPC577xK MCU is a SafeAssure functional safety solution that has been defined and developed from the ground up to address the ISO 26262 standard. The architecture and design process for the MPC577xK help reduce the design time and complexity of developing ISO 26262-compliant automotive safety applications. The MPC577xK targets safety applications at ASIL-D, which has the most safety-critical processes and strictest testing regulations of all ISO 26262 safety integrity levels.
MRD2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset
The MRD2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset provides a complete, high performance radar transceiver featuring low power consumption and superior VCO phase noise, enabling precise discrimination of objects. The chipset supports fast modulation with simultaneous active channels, enabling excellent spatial resolution and detection accuracy.
The MRD2001 is available in an advanced fan-out, wafer-level package that provides extremely low insertion loss and parasitics at frequencies up to 100 GHz. The packaged chipset simplifies the end user’s assembly of the radar module since there is no need for chip and wire assembly techniques for bare die.
The chipset is also scalable up to four TX and 12 RX channels, enabling a single radar platform capable of electronic beam steering across a wide field of view to support long range, mid-range and short-range radar applications over the full range of budget to luxury vehicles.
Freescale’s Qorivva MPC577xK MCU and MRD2001 77 GHz radar transceiver chipset are now available in sample quantities.