Infineon Brings Radar Technology to Mid-Range Cars
Neubiberg, Germany – November 7, 2007 – With a price of more than 1,000 Euros, automotive radar systems are still very expensive and remain an option in higher-end, luxury vehicles only. These systems are typically 10x20 cm taking up a large amount of space in a car’s fender area. Infineon Technologies (FSE/NYSE: IFX) today announces a new family of radar system ICs (RASIC™) which could bring long- and medium-range automotive radar to mid-range cars as soon as mid 2010.
Infineon’s RXN7740, the first radar chip, is a highly integrated front-end chip for the 76-77 GHz frequency range which includes function blocks for the oscillator, the power amplifier and four mixers for multiple antennas. Compared to today’s radar systems, which implement these functions discretely, Infineon’s RXN7740 enables vendors to shrink their radar systems a quarter of the current size, while reducing system costs for the radio frequency module by more than 20 percent.
With the European Union planning to continue its safety campaign aimed to further improve road safety and decrease the number of traffic accidents by 50 percent by 2010, there is a clear need for the large-scale introduction of integrated safety systems that can help reduce accident risk in critical situations. Long- and medium-range radar systems, covering distances between 20 and 200 meters to the front of a vehicle, can play a valuable role by identifying obstacles and automobiles ahead, despite visibility. If a collision is anticipated, headrests and seatbelts are in position to help alleviate the impact in advance of the accident. A similar signal is also sent to the braking or airbag systems.
Market research firm Strategy Analytics predicts that over the period 2006 to 2011, the use of long-range distance warning systems in cars could increase by more than 65 percent annually, with demand reaching 3 million units in 2011, with 2.3 million of them using radar sensors. By 2014, 7 percent of all new cars will include a distance warning system, primarily in Europe and in Japan.
“Radar technology is the key to building innovative driver assistance systems to help avoid automobile accidents,” says Hans Adlkofer, Vice President and General Manager of Infineon Technologies’ Sense and Control business unit. “For this very reason, Infineon has developed a highly integrated radar chip based on silicon germanium manufacturing technology that makes it possible to build simpler and more compact radar sensors. Thanks to this chip, long-range radar could become part of the standard equipment for automobiles in the mid-range automotive segment by mid 2010.”
Infineon’s new front-end chip uses a manufacturing technology based on silicon germanium (SiGe) with a transit frequency of 200 GHz. The technology, developed with the aid of Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the KOKON project (http://www.kokon-project.com), has been designed and qualified specifically for automotive use. Unlike gallium arsenide (GaAs) components used today, SiGe technology makes it possible to build smaller, more cost effective radar sensors. Infineon has also introduced new, integrated test methods to ensure its radar sensors meet the automotive industry’s demanding quality requirements.
Initial samples of the highly integrated RXN7740 radar chips are now available, with production is expected to ramp-up in mid-2009. Additional information on radar is available at www.infineon.com/radar.
Infineon Technologies AG, Neubiberg, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions addressing three central challenges to modern society: energy efficiency, communications and security. In fiscal year 2006 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.9 billion (including Qimonda sales of Euro 3.8 billion) with approximately 42,000 employees worldwide (including approximately 12,000 Qimonda employees). With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from Milpitas, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore, and in Japan from Tokyo. Infineon is listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX).