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/Expertise/Radar sensing systems/79GHz radar for automotive applications

79GHz radar for automotive applications

Imec aims at developing a radar sensing solution that is more performant than current sensing solutions in cars to enable autonomous driving.

3 unique advantages

Our radar sensor solution offers three main advantages:

  • Extremely robust, working in all imaginable conditions from darkness, rain, fog, dirt and heat as well as adverse lighting conditions such as glaring sun.
  • Fully-sealed and can be invisibly mounted, a huge plus for aesthetics but more importantly for privacy, where cameras are at a disadvantage.
  • Very small form factor.

We have been working on 28nm CMOS mm-wave chips for the past several years, modeling parasitic effects at mm-wave frequencies. We gain insights from each design iteration that improve the performance of the next chip design.

Access our expertise and become a partner in our research on:

  • System design to derive specifications.
  • IC design to develop radar sensor SoC (systems-on-chip), integrating RF and mm-wave ICs, fast and low-power ADCs, high-speed dedicated digital processing.
  • Antenna and module design through intimate co-design of antenna module and RF IC.
  • Validation and demonstration to close the learning cycle

Compact, high-resolution, low cost, efficient

Imec develops the key technologies to realize next-generation radar systems for autonomous driving:

  • Compact: CMOS radar is so compact that it can be integrated in almost any location in a car – not just in the car bumper, but also in smaller spaces such as doors.
  • High resolution: in range, angular and Doppler domain.
  • Low cost: plain CMOS, the same technology that makes your smartphone twice as cool every year; cheaper than SiGe BiCMOS when high volumes are needed.
  • Low power consumption.

We aim to develop a radar sensing solution capable of avoiding collision with pedestrians that features the following specifications:

  • 120-degree field-of-view
  • range of 30 meters
  • range resolution of 7.5cm
  • maximum velocity of 50km/h
  • velocity resolution of 1km/h
  • angular resolution of 10 degrees
  • latency of 10 milliseconds


Phase-modulated radar vs. frequency-modulated radar

We compare the suitability of phase-modulated vs. frequency modulated-radar for automotive solutions.

Frequency modulated radar is traditionally used in the automotive industry, a trend that Phase Modulated Continuous Wave (PMWC) radar disrupts. PMWC is ideal for a CMOS implementation because it requires a digital-intensive implementation, and it is also resistant to interference. We are in the process of testing PMCW radar to further explore its possible uses.


What can we do for you?

  • With a proven track-record in mm-wave IC and antenna design in-house, we can help you develop your next-generation radar solution from design to prototyping and shorten your time-to market. 
  • Join our industrial affiliation program to access early research insights, giving you an advantage over your competition while allowing you to share the costs and risks of advanced research with other technology leaders.

Why work with us?

  • We are a world-recognized center-of-excellence with an extensive IP portfolio in low-power chip design.
  • Join our R&D program to access our broad industrial and academic network with close links with leading EDA and IP vendors and commercial foundries.

How can we help you?

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