FREE subscription
Subscribe for free to receive each issue of Semiconductor Today magazine and weekly news brief.






























17 October 2006


Ultra-wideband for short-range automotive radar sensors

M/A-COM of Lowell, MA, USA has introduced a new range of 24GHz ultra-wideband (UWB) short-range radar sensors for driver-assistance systems that incorporate GaAs pseudo- morphic high-electron-mobility transistors (pHEMTs) as well as silicon application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) chips.

The highly integrated ‘smart sensor’ is designed to improve safety and comfort functions in automotive applications by providing object detection and tracking, and to be resistant to inclement weather and harsh environmental conditions more than other sensing technologies such as infrared devices.

The sensors can be customized for the following applications:

  • parking assistance - rear-mounted sensors, with a range of 1.8m, can detect small objects in front of large objects and measure the direction of arrival;
  • pre-crash sensing - the sensors scan out up to 30m to provide advanced warning of an imminent collision to arm airbag, pre-tension seat restraints or other injury mitigation strategies;
  • blind spot detection - short-range sensors detect objects in critical zones;
  • obstacle detection - with up to a 30m operating range, the radar sensor can be used to warn of unseen objects.  

The UWB technology enables the system to measure objects located within centimeters of the sensor, says M/A-COM. Also, compared to narrow-band sensors, short-range sensors can detect and distinguish between objects as close as 15cm from each other.

M/A-COM adds that the radar sensors can also be deployed in security, military and unmanned vehicle operations, as well as mining and industrial sensing applications.