Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced single chip, CMOS, 76 to 81 GHz sensors for automotive and industrial applications. The AWR1x automotive and IWR1x industrial families comprise three different options for automotive and two for industrial. The five versions allow designers to select a single chip that integrates a digital signal processor (DSP) and microcontroller (MCU) or contains just an MCU or DSP.
Each sensor combines sophisticated analog design techniques with digital signal processing to achieve up to three times higher spatial and velocity resolution than current millimeter wave solutions on the market, according to TI. Each chip has a range up to 300 m, a sensing resolution less than 4 cm and range accuracy less than 50 µm. The single chip solution reduces power consumption and board space by 50 percent.
TI's AWR1x portfolio consists of the AWR1443, AWR1642 and AWR1243. The sensors allow developers to meet the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Level 2 and above functionality through built-in quality standards, unprecedented precision in a small form factor and a low power envelope, with a low cost implementation. The AWR1x can enhance advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving safety features — including ISO 26262, which enables automotive safety integrity level (ASIL) B — and deliver features such as automated parking assistance, pedestrian detection and occupancy and driver monitoring.
The IWR1x sensors (IWR 1443 and IWR 1642) can transform existing capabilities in medical equipment, tank-level sensing, robotic vision and drones. Using millimeter wave frequencies for sensing avoids interference from lighting, rain, dust, fog or frost, making the sensors robust for inside and outside systems. The sensors “see” through plastic, dry wall, clothing, glass and many other materials. The sensors can help the system adapt to dynamic scenarios by determining the range, velocity and angle of objects around the equipment where they are installed.
The AWR1x and IWR1x sensors are supported by a complete end-to-end development platform. TI's software development kit (SDK) includes sample algorithms and software libraries which simplify RF designs, with less than 20 simple application programming interfaces (APIs). Using the SDK platform, engineers can start developing applications in less than 30 minutes.
Samples and evaluation modules (EVM) are available through TI and authorized distributors, with the EVMs priced at $299.