4D imaging radar could replace lidar on self-driving vehicles


Automotive supplier Cubtek is using network analyzers from electronics firm Rohde & Schwarz to develop 4D imaging radar for RF measurement of the E-band. Rohde & Schwarz oscilloscopes and their independently developed, application-specific integrated circuits (ASIC) provide the ideal measurement tools for automotive radar research and development.

Future self-driving vehicles will face complex road scenarios and 4D imaging radar sensor modules in the 77 GHz band will be indispensable. Compared with lidar, 4D imaging radar is less susceptible to inclement weather conditions and is more in line with safety requirements for self-driving vehicles.

4D imaging radar covers distance, speed, horizontal angle, and vertical angle. Most current conventional radar systems either lack vertical angle detection or have very limited sensor capabilities for vertical angles. Relative to conventional systems, 4D imaging radar has achieved a breakthrough in horizontal and vertical angular resolution, with angular resolution of nearly 1 degree and 0.1 degree of angular accuracy.

4D imaging radar has far more antenna channels than conventional systems, which significantly enhances performance. Conventional radar systems usually have a 3-transmitter/4-receiver antenna architecture but 4D imaging radars can have a transceiver volume that is several times greater. As 4D imaging radar systems require more 77 GHz millimeter wave antennas and transceiver chip integrations, their millimeter wave antenna, IC adapter design, and millimeter wave test validation will play an extremely critical role.

77 GHz automotive millimeter wave radar manufacturer Cubtek partnered with NXP Semiconductors, the world’s leading automotive radar chip manufacturer, to launch a 4D imaging radar platform at CES last January. The NXP imaging radar chipset solution uses the flagship S32R45 radar MPU and the second-generation high performance RFCMOS radar transceiver TEF82XX for 12 transmitting and 16 receiving 77 GHz antenna channels that can be expanded to 192 virtual antenna arrays using MIMO technology. 4D imaging radar performance is improved by optimizing the high-resolution algorithms with angular resolution of less than 1 degree.

When developing the 4D imaging radar, Cubtek chose the R&S ZVA network analyzer and the R&S ZVA-Zxxx millimeter wave converter from Rohde & Schwarz to make RF measurements of the E-band. The instruments provide both high performance and highly accurate measurement results in sensitive, high frequency environments.

Rohde & Schwarz digital oscilloscopes include the portable R&S Scope Rider series, the mid-range R&S MXO 4 and the high-end R&S RTO6 or R&S RTP series. The latter can analyze the demodulation bandwidth of FMCW signals. The company developed the ASIC itself for low noise and high performance, creating the best measurement tool for automotive radar research and development.

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