Increasing Traffic Safety with new 79GHz Radar Technology

9 October, 2015 - 14:00

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To achieve the Swedish Transportation Agency’s “Nollvisionen” (zero traffic-related fatalities) and the EUs traffic safety goal for 2020 is a big challenge.  Smarter and more intelligent monitoring systems based on high frequency radar are one of the solutions to reduce the number of traffic accidents on the roads and railways.  Now DENSO, Qamcom, Amparo Solutions and Acreo Swedish ICT are jointly developing the next generation of radar sensors for improved traffic safety.

Railways are, relatively speaking, a safe mode of transportation and the number of deaths among rail travelers has decreased overall within the EU.  At the same time the statistics in Sweden show that the number of serious injuries is increasing.  Level crossing accidents between trains and automobiles lead to approximately 1 500 fatalities per year in the EU and also cause extensive damage and traffic delays.   Automobiles have indeed become safer- fewer motorists die in traffic accidents.  However the number of deaths and injuries among vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists is increasing.  In Sweden, the Swedish Transportation Agency has set  a zero vision for both road and rail traffic and the EU Road Safety Action Program 2011-2020 seeks to halve the number of fatalities on Europe’s roads over the next ten years.  Societal and market needs for both more effective ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) is therefore a large priority within industry.  The goal of the new R&D project “79 GHz UWB Imaging Radar Sensor” is to develop more effective radar technology for increased traffic safety.

- The market for automotive radar sensors for ADAS is growing rapidly every year.  But todays systems that utilize the 24 GHz and 77GHz bands have clear bandwidth limitations.  A migration to the 79GHz band allows for several advantages, such as increased resolution and the possibility of multiple sensors around the vehicle to utilize the same frequency band, says project leader Jan-Olov Axelsson, DENSO.

Within approximately 6 months, Qamcom/Amparo will deliver its first 77GHz radar system for monitoring of level crossings to the Swedish Transportation Agency.  These systems are meant primarily to prevent train derailments caused by collisions between trains and vehicles.

- With broadband 79 GHz radar systems, which we will now start to develop, there is the opportunity of a plethora of performance improvements that, among other things, allows for an increased level of pedestrian safety, easier installation and improved interference protection.  Such systems are also ideal for many other types of traffic monitoring applications, says Johan Lassing, VD Qamcom Technology AB

A large number of EU countries have approved the use of W-band radar and the USA is also very likely to open the frequency band for additional applications shortly.  Radar sensors, components and systems that work with wider bandwidths at higher frequencies have many advantages.  With an increased effective bandwidth radar systems can see further and with increased precision and the ability for identification of obstacles increases significantly.  Furthermore, the use of higher frequencies allows for the reduction in the size of microwave components and antennas.  The new technology is therefore expected eventually to be less expensive than today’s systems.

- Another advantage when switching to the higher frequency band is the opportunity to develop a global standard for a multi-function radar sensor that supports all ADAS- and ITS applications, from near to far range applications, says Michael Salter, Acreo Swedish ICT.

The companies in the project have the complete range of R&D capabilities within the technical field and represent the complete supply chain- from technology development to product deployment.  The project is financed with 4MSEK via the Vinnova Strategic Innovation Program for Smarter Electronic Systems and will continue until August 2017.

For more information:

Jan-Olov Axelsson, DENSO Sales Sweden AB
jan.o.axelsson [at], +46 70 9892545

Michael Salter, Acreo Swedish ICT
michael.salter [at], +46 703 55 5838

Johan Lassing , Qamcom Technology AB
johan.lassing [at], +46 704 262780

Short facts about the project 79 GHz UWB Imaging Radar Sensor

The project intends to design a hardware platform and associated software (for sophisticated signal processing and tracking) for an ultra-wideband (UWB) radar sensor in the frequency range 76-81 GHz.  Several 79 GHz radar prototypes will be constructed within the project.  In addition, signal processing adapted for UWB radar together with adequate calibration methods will be developed.

Expected result:  Significantly improved safety features for existing radar sensor systems for semi-autonomous to autonomous vehicles such as automobiles and agricultural machinery, traffic monitoring (railroad level crossings) and construction equipment.  A significantly improved range resolution and reduced sensitivity to interference when compared with today’s radar sensors (24 GHz and 77 GHz).

Project Partners:  DENSO Sales Sweden AB (project leader), Amparo Solutions, Qamcom Research & Technology och Acreo Swedish ICT AB.

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Project: 79 GHz UWB Imaging Radar Sensor