Dallas-based Texas Instruments has introduced new semiconductors designed to improve auto safety and intelligence via the industry’s first radar sensor chips for satellite radar architectures.
TI said the AWR2544 77GHz millimeter-wave radar sensor chip enables higher levels of autonomy “by improving sensor fusion and decision-making in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).” The company will demonstrate the new tech Thursday at the 2024 CES conference in Las Vegas.
“Semiconductor innovations like the ones we’re showcasing this year at CES are helping automotive systems continue to evolve and contribute to a safer driver experience,” Fern Yoon, director of Automotive Systems at Texas Instruments, said in a statement. “From more advanced driver assistance systems to smarter electric vehicle powertrain systems, TI is working alongside automakers to reimagine how reliable and intelligent technology can enable safer vehicles.”
It’s all in the chip
The company said its new software-programmable driver chips, the DRV3946-Q1 integrated contactor driver and DRV3901-Q1 integrated squib driver for pyro fuses, offer built-in diagnostics and support functional safety for battery management and powertrain systems.
The company said its AWR2544 single-chip radar sensor is the industry’s first designed for satellite architectures. TI said that in satellite architectures, radar sensors output semi-processed data to a central processor for ADAS decision-making using sensor fusion algorithms, taking advantage of the 360-degree sensor coverage to improve vehicle safety.
Texas Instruments said the AWR2544 is also the industry’s first with launch-on-package (LOP) technology that helps reduce the size of the sensor by as much as 30% by mounting a 3D waveguide antenna on the opposite side of the printed circuit board.
LOP technology also extends sensor ranges beyond 200 meters with a single chip, TI said.
Boosting safety and efficiency
In satellite architectures, TI said those features enable automakers to increase ADAS intelligence for higher vehicle autonomy levels to make smarter decisions from farther away. It said the AWR2544 is the latest in TI’s radar sensor portfolio, which supports a wide range of ADAS applications and architectures with sensors developed for corner, front, imaging, side, and rear radar systems.
TI also said that two of its new highly integrated, software-programmable driver chips address requirements for safer and more efficient control of high-voltage disconnect circuits in an advanced battery management system. Both drivers are International Organization for Standardization 26262 functional safety-compliant and offer built-in diagnostics and protection to reduce automotive engineers’ development time, the company said.
For BMS and other powertrain systems, the DRV3946-Q1 is the industry’s first fully integrated contactor driver, the company said. The driver includes a peak-and-hold current controller that helps automakers increase system power efficiency. The device also conducts safety diagnostics to monitor the condition of the contactor.
The company’s DRV3901-Q1 fully integrated squib driver enables an intelligent pyro fuse disconnect system by using built-in circuitry to monitor the pyro fuse and provide diagnostic information to the system microcontroller, the company said. That gives hybrid electric vehicle and EV BMS designers flexibility in using a pyro fuse instead of traditional melting fuse systems while minimizing design complexity.
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