Radar software development kit enhances automotive radar sensor capabilities

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NXP Semiconductors has announced the first release of powerful radar signal processing algorithms as part of its latest Premium Radar SDK (PRSDK).

This SDK has been designed to help developers to enhance radar system performance, leveraging tight coupling of NXP’s advanced software algorithms with its latest S32R4x radar processor family for improved safety and differentiation.

The proprietary radar algorithm library will allow the quick integration of proven algorithms into radar sensor applications, helping to speed radar sensor development and reduce R&D investment costs. This initial release, expected to be available for evaluation during 2022, includes three algorithm packages with solutions for interference mitigation, MIMO waveform optimisation and angular resolution enhancement.

Radar use cases like automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are becoming increasingly standard in cars being shipped today. Regional legislation and regulations continue to mandate more demanding features for blind-spot detection, turn assistant, front and rear cross-traffic and people detection, requiring more radar nodes per vehicle to provide a 360-degree safety cocoon.

In addition, growing demand for a safer and more comfortable driving experience is accelerating the transition to L2+, offering comfort features close to L3 autonomous driving which, in turn, requires higher performance radar sensors to extend the corner case coverage and provide precise environment mapping and localisation.

“We expect the triple acceleration of automotive radar to continue over the next decade, with more cars equipped with radar sensors, an increasing number of sensor nodes per car and more performant sensors being deployed,” said Huanyu Gu, Director Product Marketing and Business Development ADAS, NXP. “This megatrend presents several challenges for vehicle OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. Specifically, it poses a need for interference mitigation, MIMO waveform optimisation and augmented sensor resolution. NXP’s Premium Radar SDK’s advanced algorithms aim to address all these challenges, enabling customers to optimally leverage the S32R4x radar processor hardware.”

In about 5 years, cars are expected to carry twice as many radar sensors as today, and over 90% of the radar sensors will be emitting in the same 77-79 GHz band. Concerns about radar interference are growing, and the need for mitigation measures has become imperative. At the same time, automakers are seeking efficient ways to improve sensor performance. Consequently, carefully optimised MIMO waveforms are essential, enabling radar sensors with higher resolution and longer reach.

These special modulation schemes allow more transmitters to operate simultaneously, coding the individual transmit antenna signals to ensure they can be differentiated on the receiver side. Moreover, higher resolution sensors are desired for both corner and front radar applications to support more accurate object separation and classification for use cases such as vulnerable road user detection or park assist functions.

The Premium Radar SDK is a new software product and will continue to evolve over time, expanding the list of algorithms through regular releases to accommodate emerging radar requirements. The PRSDK implementation complies with International Automotive Quality Management standards IATF 16949:2016 & ASPICE Level 3 requirements. The deliverables allow user customisation to meet the needs for individual adjustment and differentiation.

NXP is offering OEM and Tier 1 suppliers two evaluation options under an evaluation license agreement. The MATLAB-based version delivers the algorithms as compiled code to allow developers to understand what the PRSDK does by feeding customer test vectors, computing and visualising the output vectors.

Providing bit accuracy, the MCU-based evaluation option includes the algorithm binary files to run on the NXP target radar processor evaluation board and demonstrates the real time performance of the PRSDK.