Clients Turn to the 22FDX® Platform for Next-Generation Automotive Radar

by Mark Granger

The growing use and sophistication of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and other automotive electronics systems are helping to make cars and trucks safer and more energy-efficient, while giving them a higher degree of autonomous operating capability. As a strategic partner to the automotive industry, GF offers multiple technology platforms with many features that are used to create highly differentiated solutions for these applications. 

Sensors are a case in point. Different types of sensors – cameras, radar, and lidar – give a vehicle the eyes and ears it needs to understand the world around it, but specialized application solutions are needed to create devices that will deliver the best results. For example, radar alone has many different requirements depending on its location in the car, the expected range or distance, and the resolution of the detected scene.

GF provides many solutions to meet the needs of radar device manufacturers. GF’s 40LP platform with mmWave capability is a great option for short- and medium-range sensors although GF’s 8XP SiGe technology is the solution when the absolute best range performance is needed.

22FDX® Platform Gaining Traction

What has rapidly been gaining traction for next-generation automotive radar is GF’s 22FDX 22nm FD-SOI platform for automotive systems-on-chips (SoCs) which brings mmWave performance and digital integration together to enable high-resolution radar at 77GHz and beyond. This is the “sweet spot” for automotive radar, because the combination of best-in-class RF performance coupled with excellent digital integration significantly improves imaging resolution and accuracy.

Key to its popularity is that the 22FDX platform enables high power-added efficiency (PAE), meaning that it offers high levels of output power even while it operates at low power, a key advantage as the overall electronics content in vehicles continues to grow. The high PAE of the platform reduces the thermal budget, making it a versatile solution for use throughout vehicle chassis and bodies in locations where thermal performance is a key requirement, such as radar sensors embedded in foam bumpers.

GF’s 22FDX platform offers significant advantages to manufacturers of automotive radar systems versus standard 28nm bulk CMOS technology
Source: GF

Moreover, the extensive 22FDX IP portfolio that GF and partners have developed to meet rigorous automotive requirements is helping clients achieve their design and time-to-market goals, while driving toward zero excursions and zero defects. It is available through GF’s AutoPro™ solutions and suppliers to the automotive industry. The foundation of everything, of course, is GF’s Fab 1 in Dresden, Germany where 22FDX products are manufactured. It is fully compliant with IATF 16949 quality standards.

The result of all this is that 22FDX engagements with automakers and their suppliers have jumped dramatically. For automotive radar alone, there have been nearly 30 test designs executed on multi-project wafers (MPWs), and in the last year three additional full-product design starts. 

GF’s 22FDX platform is becoming the technology of choice for next-generation automotive radar. Arbe Robotics is the first automotive radar client that has disclosed it is working with GF.
Source: GF

Foundry Reference Design Proof Point

Nevertheless, many potential clients pursuing next-generation automotive radar are still relatively unfamiliar with the technology. They range from automakers and established suppliers who are delving more deeply into the design of electronic components themselves, to a growing number of startups trying to bring to market a range of innovative and disruptive technologies.

To help them, GF has produced a foundry reference design for a 77GHZ radar transceiver that not only illustrates the unique and compelling benefits of the 22FDX platform, but also demonstrates that AutoPro solutions lead to an excellent correlation between even the most complex circuit design models and the parts that are manufactured based on them.

The 22FDX-based transceiver produced using the foundry reference design demonstrated state-of-the-art performance for next-generation radar systems. These included an operating range from 76GHz up to 81GHz; receiver noise figure of 16dB (@ 10Mhz); and maximum power output of 13dBm with just 2dB of variation across an operating temperature range of -20⁰C – 125⁰C.

This foundry reference design for a 77GHz radar transceiver made with GF’s 22FDX platform shows that it meets design KPIs (key performance indicators) with excellent model-to-hardware correlation.
Source: GF

Silicon is the Foundation

Automotive electronics is a truly exciting space that is growing and changing at an unprecedented rate. The levels of computing, sensing and control in vehicles continue to grow as the concept of the “Smart Auto” evolves into reality. GF’s AutoPro solutions provide the silicon technology foundation required for this to happen.

Mark Granger is the Vice President of Automotive Business Development at GLOBALFOUNDRIES.