Chinese carmaker SAIC picks ZF to supply 4D imaging radar

Chinese carmaker SAIC picks ZF to supply 4D imaging radar

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Automotive supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG has begun supplying its imaging radar technology to China’s SAIC Motor Corporation for R-series electric vehicles.

Previously known as full-range radar, ZF’s imaging radar transmits and receives over 192 channels, enabling highly detailed detection of the vehicle environment in four dimensions, including height. Therefore, high-resolution radar can provide the necessary safety and reliability for partially to fully automated driving, including Level 4.

Imaging radar provides high resolution in four dimensions: Range, Speed, Horizontal Angle (Azimuth) and now additionally Altitude (Elevation Angle). This also makes the radar an imaging technology in 3D with velocity as an additional fourth measurement dimension. The high-resolution 4D detection of the traffic situation helps a vehicle on a highway, for example, to detect the end of a traffic jam under a bridge at an early stage and to brake accordingly. Imaging radar also provides information that helps identify the edge of the roadway and whether there are clear overtaking areas at the edge of the roadway.

An imaging radar has a much higher resolution than a mid-range radar, which typically has only twelve channels (three transmitters, four receivers). With ZF’s imaging radar, the number of channels is 16 times greater: multiple MMIC (Monolithic Microwave Integrated Circuit) chips are combined to provide a total of 192 channels.

“With its high object and scene detection and long range, imaging radar is an important key technology that meets the high demands of Level 3 and 4 automated driving at a competitive price level,” says Jana Rosenmann, head of ZF’s Electronics and Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) division. “This sensor is also capable of significantly enhancing the performance of Level 2+ advanced safety and driving applications.”

The imaging radar’s high information density enables highly detailed object detection. For example, it receives around ten data points from a pedestrian – instead of just one or two compared to typical car radars. This enables more accurate information because radars register the speed of the measured object for each measurement point. ZF’s imaging radar can even resolve the movement of individual limbs – allowing the sensor to detect which direction the pedestrian is walking.

The imaging radar is an important addition to ZF’s sensor set for automated driving functions. With an aperture angle of 120 degrees, it is designed for a wide range of situations: from slow city traffic to driving on country roads and highways. At 350 meters, the range is well above the current state of the art. The imaging radar can be installed at various points on the vehicle – whether on a sports car or truck – and adapted to the prevailing driving dynamics. It uses the 77-gigahertz band and FMCW modulation (Fast Ramp Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave).

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NXP, Green Hills partner for series-ready imaging radar



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