Driver-assistance radar modules a fast-growing sector, says Bosch

May 03, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Having already manufactured one million automotive radar sensors, Bosch expects that the significance of the radar technology for automotive safety and intelligent driver assistance systems will significantly increase in the years ahead. Demand will be driven among other factors by stricter criteria for the Euro NCAP safety assessments.

Radar sensors are at the core of many driver assistant systems, mainly for adaptive cruise control and blind spot detection. Bosch has produced such sensors since 2000. It took 13 years to reach the first million units, but Bosch now sees steeply rising demand: It will take just about one year to reach the 2 million units mark, said Wolf-Henning Scheider, general manager for Bosch's Chassis Systems Control and Electrical Devices unit. In 2016, the company plans to manufacture 10 million units.

Scheider sees two main reasons for the steep climb in demand: Firstly, carmakers are increasingly equipping their vehicles with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). Secondly, The Euro NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) has enhanced the criteria for its top safety rating: Only cars with a radar-equipped ADAS will be eligible to get the top five-stars rating.

Currently Bosch is about to ramp up production for a new 77GHz mid-range radar sensor which offers a comparable performance to its predecessor at significantly lower price and smaller size. It tracks objects at distances of up to 160m and will complement Bosch's third-generation long range sensor which features a measurement range of up to 250m. In this device, Bosch is using for the first time, a new SiGe RF module (provided by Infineon) which also enabled the company to reduce the sales price.

The new mid-range sensor will be an important building block for emergency brake functions and adaptive cruise controls which can operate at speeds of about 150 kmph. In 2014, Bosch also plans to release a variant of this sensor designed for rearward-looking applications. With this feature, lane departure warning systems can early identify vehicles approaching from behind at high speeds and issue a collision warning. This rearward-looking sensor will feature a wide aperture angle of 150 degrees.

All Bosch radar sensors operate in the 77GHz range. In comparison to the 24GHz range, 77GHz sensors offer much better performance,