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Digitimes Research: 79GHz to replace 24GHz for automotive millimeter-wave radar sensors

Jessie Lin and Hana Hu, DIGITIMES Research, Taipei [Friday 8 September 2017]

Allocated for use in short-range high-resolution automotive radar at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference organized by the International Telecommunication Union, 79GHz (77.5-78.0GHz) frequency band units are expected to gradually replace 24GHz, which is currently widely adopted for automotive millimeter-wave radar sensors, according to Digitimes Research.

Currently, 24GHz and 77GHz band units are mostly used in automotive millimeter-wave radar sensors, with 24GHz sensor models detecting ranges of 0.2-30m and mainly used in BSD (blind spot detection) and LDW (lane departure warning). The 77GHz ones are able to detect 100-250m ranges and mainly used in AEB (automatic emergency braking) and ACC (adaptive cruise control), Digitimes Research indicated.

Since narrowband 24GHz is relatively inferior in range detection and recognition of objects, and use of ultra wideband 24GHz will expire in 2022, 79GHz will gradually replace 24GHz, and the pace of replacement will accelerate particularly after 2022.

In 2017, prices for 24GHz, 77GHz and 79GHz automotive millimeter-wave radar sensor modules are about US$50, US$150-220 and US$100-200 respectively. Based on required safety functions, an ADAS (advanced driver assistance system) should be equipped with at least five millimeter radar sensors: one for detecting long ranges and four for detecting medium and short ranges.

Chip manufacturing process for automotive millimeter-wave radar sensors has evolved from GaAs, SiGe to CMOS, with CMOS process featuring integration toward SoC.

Since CMOS process can reduce sizes of and production cost for the sensors, prices for such devices are likely to drop to below US$100 in 2022. Global market value for automotive millimeter-wave radar sensors in 2022 is forecast at US$15.96 billion, consisting of US$8.40 billion for short- and mid-range models and US$7.56 billion for long-range ones.

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