NXP ultrawideband chip combines ranging and short range radar

NXP ultrawideband chip combines ranging and short range radar

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

NXP Semiconductors has developed a family of ultrawideband (UWB) chips that can be used for both secure ranging and access control as well as short range radar motion detection.

The NXP Trimension NCJ29D6 is a fully integrated automotive UWB single chip for automotive designers to add additional functions alongside secure car entry via a key fob or mobile phone.

UWB is being integrated into the latest mobile phone to act as access control for vehicles, but this requires a UWB transceiver. Once this is in place, the UWB chip can be used for features such as child presence detection, intrusion alert and kick gesture recognition to open the boot of a car says Christoph Zorn of NXP.

“This brings the same performance as classic car keys with new digital features where people can share the keys between people,” said Zorn. “It’s not only the components on the car side or the phone side, it’s also that we see that OEMs will turn from the classic car keys and use the technologies in the phones including Bluetooth and UWB,” he said.

“UWB is the enabler for secure car access in the mobile phone. In the past parts were not compatible with phones and did not have the precise performance that was needed to decide if a key is inside the car or outside. The next generation is taking another step further,” he said. “Not only is there distance estimation but the pulse radar mode for sub cm motion detection. The high integration also reduces the bill of materials and we can add a lot more functionality that reduces the system cost for the OEM.”.

The devices are being integrated by major automotive OEMs to be on the road in model year 2025 vehicles.

The NCJ29D6A adds a digital signal processing block to support short range radar that can detect the movement of a child breathing for in-cabin presence detection that is a regulatory requirement in Europe from 2025.

The part is pin compatible with the NCJ29D6B that uses the established time of flight (ToF) UWB protocol, with both having a dual channel receive path for dual antenna designs. This gives OEM designers the option to use different functions in different parts of the vehicle with the same modules.

This can eliminate redundant systems such as the capacitive kick sensor on the boot, and reduce cost, space and weight. This also helps streamline development and allows OEMs and Tier 1s to add additional features through software updates as part of the move to software defined vehicles.

“Automotive OEMs and Tier 1s will benefit from a single system that can deliver multiple new software-defined experiences enabled by Trimension NCJ29D6 UWB ICs over time. Building on our expertise and standardization efforts in bodies such as the Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC) and the FiRa Consortium, we are helping UWB become an essential part of the automotive ecosystem,” said Markus Staeblein, Senior Vice President and General Manager Secure Car Access, NXP Semiconductors.

Both devices are designed to exceed the ISO21434 Cyber Security Requirements. In addition, CCC MAC and FiRa MAC offer standard-compatible UWB ranging protocols docking directly to the customer application software, enabling and simplifying AUTOSAR architectures.

The system can also be used for automated EV charging, says Zorn. “If you have an underbody wireless charger and need to position precisely over the plate UWB can give you the positioning,” he said.

The Trimension family expands NXP’s portfolio of Connected Car Consortium-based smart access solutions, including KW45/47 wireless MCUs for Bluetooth Low Energy, NCx332x automotive NFC frontend, NCJ37x automotive secure element and FS24 family of automotive safety Mini CAN FD SBC.

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