Infineon partners for ultra-low power UWB chip

Infineon partners for ultra-low power UWB chip

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

US startup Mauna Kea Semiconductors (MKSemi) has raised $12.8m for a low power UWB chip for a partnership with Infineon Technologies.

The seed round was led by Lightspeed China Partners with participation by marquee investors Qiming Venture and Ivy Capital.

The MK8000 system on a chip (SoC) combines an ARM Cortex-M0 microcontroller core with a custom UWB signal processor that improves computation efficiency by a factor of ten and reduces power consumption significantly. The chip has a receive power consumption of 43mA at 3V, half that of other chips, with data rates up to 54 Mbit/s across the 3 to 9GHz band.

This will be used by industrial and automotive system integrator ThinkSeed Systems to enable secure ranging and location in IoT applications using Infineon’s PSoC 63 Bluetooth Low energy chip.

“MKSemi chose to pair their low power UWB SoC with Infineon Technologies’ best-in-class PSoC 63 Bluetooth LE MCU,” said Ali Bukhari, Director, Product Marketing – BTBLE IoT Computer & Wireless Division, Infineon Technologies. “Together with MKSemi we are creating an ideal solution for various location-based use cases including asset tracking, passive keyless entry (digital key), warehouse management, and location tags.”

ThinkSeed Systems will take the combined design to add application software and qualify it for industrial and automotive markets. Since Bluetooth LE and UWB coexist and complement each other, using the two technologies can create an enhanced solution for spatial awareness.

“This funding close is a resounding validation of MKSemi’s vision, mission, and the tremendous traction gained as the leading low-power UWB company,” said Dr. Yifeng Zhang, Co-founder and CEO of MKSemi. “We are grateful to our investors and partners for supporting and embracing our differentiator — the unparalleled ability to enable IoT devices with high-precision sensing. Already working closely with tier one smartphone OEMs, MK8000 also has wide-ranging potential to dramatically bolster consumer and industrial IoT applications such as smart homes, cities, automobiles, wearables, and health monitoring devices.”

Shipments of UWB-enabled devices are predicted to reach more than 1.3 billion shipments by 2026, growing from 143 million in 2020 says ABI research

“Every once in a while, we see all the necessary ingredients that present itself in one promising startup – industry pioneers evident in the founders’ experience, breakthrough product and tremendous potential with a growing market. MKSemi is such company that we are proud to support,” said James Mi, Founding Partner, Lightspeed China Partners. “The company has a chance to impact industries and accelerate UWB market adoption, and we’re excited to help them scale globally.”

The MK8000 SoC is available now to partners and customers.

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